Metro: Bus Driver In Fatal Crash Didn’t Follow Procedure

The driver in a fatal Madison Metro bus crash didn’t follow proper procedure, according to a report released Wednesday on last June’s crash.

Madison Metro leaders said there’s critical evidence showing their driver, Debra Foster, didn’t follow guidelines.

In a newly released video that starts one minute before Maureen Grant, 58, was struck and killed as she crossed University Avenue last year, Foster is seen making the left turn from Lake Street to University Avenue. In the video, Foster looks but doesn’t move her body to look around the blind spot caused by the side mirror.

A Wisconsin State Patrol report had the same finding.

Foster, who was ticketed for failure to yield to a pedestrian, said she never saw Grant.

“They are trained, as other motor vehicle operators are, to manage that blind spot by moving their body position,” Metro general manager Chuck Kamp said. “Some drivers call it a ‘rock and roll’ motion, but that is part of our training.”

The video stops just before Grant was struck.

Madison Metro said the driver hasn’t been on the job since the crash at her choice. Metro said Foster is currently on layoff status but can return to work.

In the meantime, Metro leaders said after the incident, and after receiving feedback from drivers, they’re in the process of spending $70,000 to reposition mirrors on the entire fleet. Metro said it’s moving the driver’s side mirror from the side of the bus to a top-mount design.

Kamp said this blind spot has always been an issue for drivers, and moving the mirrors will help prevent this type of incident from happening again.

“We will continue to look for other ways to manage the left-side blind spot and other blind spots,” Kamp said.

If Foster does return to work, Metro officials said she will have to complete extensive retraining. She will also be disciplined as a result of the internal investigation and the findings released Wednesday, Metro officials said.

Managers won’t say at this time what that punishment would be, citing stipulations within Metro’s collective bargaining agreement, but they said it will be made public in the weeks to come.