A private bus driver who accidentally killed a 9-year-old on skates 16 months ago was behind the wheel early Thursday morning when his bus hit and killed a North Hollywood woman crossing the street.
The woman, Pamela Glassen, was apparently rushing to catch an MTA bus when she stepped into the intersection of Woodman Avenue and Victory Boulevard about 7 a.m.
The 45-year-old woman was struck by the Laidlaw Transit, Inc. bus, which was making a right turn, and crushed beneath the vehicle’s rear tires, said Los Angeles Police Officer Bob Crane.
The driver, who carried no passengers at the time, was en route to Kittridge and Chandler elementary schools to pick up children for a field trip to Marina del Rey. Police said the driver did not appear to be guilty of any wrongdoing, but authorities are continuing to interview witnesses.
The driver, a seven-year employee of Laidlaw, was given a drug and alcohol test, routine for such accidents, police said. Authorities declined to name the man in the absence of any criminal charges. Test results are expected today.
Mike Rushin, vice-president of Laidlaw Transit Inc., said the driver will be suspended until the investigation is completed, according to company policy.
After Thursday’s accident, the driver went home and talked to a Laidlaw counselor.
“He is absolutely very shaken, just as anybody would be,” Rushin said. “And I guess the real irony of this is that we have a person who is going to have to suffer through this again, through two unfortunate accidents.”
The driver, he added, had passed two Laidlaw recertification tests earlier this year and has received no other citations.
Rushin said a California Highway Patrol investigation cleared the man of fault in the fatal January 1995 collision.
In that case, the driver had dropped off students near the intersection of 60th Place and Budlong Avenue in South Los Angeles. He was making a left turn to go south on Budlong when a 9-year-old boy skated into the side of the bus and was killed, Rushin said. The accident was ruled a “pedestrian-caused incident,” he said.
LAPD spokesman Eduardo Funes said officers investigating Thursday’s fatal accident are trying to determine whether Glassen crossed against the light when she entered the crosswalk.
Laidlaw officials said it appears the driver had a green light and was already turning the corner when the woman darted into the street.
Funes said it could be days before the investigation is completed.
“Whenever there is an accident, people start to crowd around and all of a sudden the stories begin to change because everybody wants to be a part of the situation,” he said. “There could be very valid witnesses at the scene. And when they all say the same thing, then there’s a good chance that their account is valid.”