AC Transit bus hit by Amtrak train in Oakland

March 3, 2010 5:35:03 PM PST
The driver of an AC Transit bus escaped with his life Wednesday morning after his bus stalled on a train track and was sliced in two by an Amtrak train. No one was injured, but there are serious questions about the maintenance record of the bus.

When the train approached, the bus driver had just called central dispatch to report his bus stalled as he was crossing the tracks. He had just minutes to get out in time before the train sliced the bus in two.

A spokesperson for AC Transit says the bus that stalled on the tracks passed a routine maintenance inspection two weeks ago, but the same bus stalled on the same driver just one day before the accident.

"If it happened where they ignored it and then did not address the issue then we will deal with it as a union safety issue for our operators," Claudia Hudson, president of the drivers' union said.

Later in the day, AC Transit officials said they plan to investigate the maintenance records.

"We're looking into it; we're going to try to find out if in fact there was a problem with this bus and what was done about it or if the problem could be detected," AC Transit spokesperson Clarence Johnson said.

Drivers are supposed to report mechanical problems and the buses should be inspected before they are allowed back out.

Those bus drivers ABC7 spoke to Wednesday say they feel safe.

The driver who stalled on the tracks, identified by fellow drivers as nine-year veteran Michael Jefferson had just started his route and had no passengers on board.

There were no injuries to anyone on board the Capitol Corridor Amtrak train and passengers were eventually bused to their destination.

"We felt some breaking and heard some noise, that's about it," Amtrak passenger Judy Kaylor said.

Amtrak service in the area was disrupted for about four hours. It is unknown if the driver filed an official report about Tuesday's stall, but sources say that after that stall, the bus was allowed to stay on the road for at least another four hours and then it was back out on the road again Wednesday morning when the same thing happened again.


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