Affidavit: MBTA Bus Driver Blames Newton Crash On Sneeze But Admits To Holding Cell Phone
NEWTON (CBS) — The driver of the MBTA bus that crashed into the guard rail over the Massachusetts Turnpike Sunday morning, told investigators she sneezed and lost control of the bus at the time of the crash, according to an MBTA Transit Police report.
In a report obtained by WBZ-TV, Shanna Shaw told police when she opened her eyes after sneezing, she realized she was too far to the left and as she tried to regain control of the bus, slid out of the driver’s seat and onto the floor.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. and sent 9 people and Shaw, to the hospital with minor injuries.
At the hospital, Shaw denied having a cell phone with her at the time of the crash but investigators note in the report, while speaking with Shaw, they heard a cell phone ringing in her purse.
While reviewing the surveillance video from inside the bus, police say they saw Shaw with her cell phone in her left hand and an unidentified object in her right hand at the time of the crash. During questioning, Shaw later admitted to holding her cell phone while she was driving the bus but said she was moving the phone from her bag to her pocket and was not using it to text or make a phone call.
When a transit police officer advised Shaw of her contradictory story, Shaw could not explain why her cell phone was in her hand or how moving her cell phone fit into the chain of events before the crash, the report states.
Investigators say there were no calls or text messages after 5:30 a.m. In addition to her cell phone, police seized Shaw’s iPod.
17-year-old Nicole Perel’s grandmother was on the bus. “She said the bus was going too fast at the curve, and that just before the crash, the driver fell out of her seat,” Perel told WBZ-TV. “Then, the bus crashed into the guardrail.”
While Shaw originally told investigators she evacuated the bus with her passengers, surveillance video shows Shaw getting back on the bus after the crash to retrieve her cell phone from the floor.
According to the report, a passenger on the bus told police he never heard a sneeze or cough and believed Shaw was driving too fast prior to the crash.
Passenger Jerome Higgins spoke to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones.
“I took the Sunday previous and she took the whole route to Kenmore Square very fact,” Jerome Higgins said. “She got up right away and shouted to everyone to get off the back of the bus.”
On Monday, Shaw was charged with misleading a police officer, speeding, driving to endanger and impeded operation. She’s expected to be arraigned in Newton District Court on May 27.
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