WILLINGTON, Conn. (CBS) – A Peter Pan bus driver was arrested after police said she locked a passenger inside the luggage compartment of a bus heading to Boston.
“Then all of a sudden my brain didn’t know how to react, there was a person on the ground,” said Caroline Van Allen recalling the moment she saw a woman spill out of a luggage compartment.
“Did I hallucinate? Did she get off the bus? When did she get off the bus? We’ve all been sitting here,” Van Allen said from outside of her Melrose home.
The 28-year-old said it happened Sunday afternoon, as she was bound for Boston after a trip to New York.
When just a few miles from the Massachusetts border, the bus she was riding was pulled over by Connecticut State Police.
“She was locked in there and had called 911. Not only that, people in the front could hear banging for help,” said Van Allen.
Wendy Alberty, 49, was arrested and is now being accused of purposely locking a female passenger in the luggage compartment, while she was trying to get items from a bag inside. Alberty drove the first leg of the four-hour trip, but was riding as a passenger after a routine stop in Hartford.
“They did not tell us anything, we just watched as this woman, extremely calmly, took all of her belongings. She did not say one word to the driver,” Van Allen said.
In a statement to WBZ, Peter Pan said, “we are deeply concerned and are treating this as our #1 priority.”
And added that the operator, who’s been employed by the company since 2012, is now on an investigative suspension.
“Why didn’t she see a human being in there, why did the woman say ‘hey don’t close that?'” said Van Allen. “People at Peter Pan are responsible for transporting you and your luggage safely.”
Van Allen told WBZ-TV she’s disappointed in how employees of the carrier company avoided passengers and provided no explanation.
“[They] act like nothing happened. And we go and we go to Boston, no explanation. And when we arrive, not even a welcome to Boston,” said Van Allen.
Alberty was arrested on first degree charges of unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and breach of peace.
She’s due back in court August 21st.