The Associated Press

MBTA Bus Driver Had Phone In Hand, Police Say

BOSTON — The veteran driver whose bus crashed through a guardrail, leaving the front end hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike, appeared to have a cellphone in her hand at the time of the crash, according to an investigative report.

In a photo released by the Newton Fire Department, the front end of an MBTA bus hangs over the Mass Pike Sunday. (Courtesy)

In a photo released by the Newton Fire Department, the front end of an MBTA bus hangs over the Mass Pike Sunday. (Courtesy)

The driver, Shanna Shaw, 42, told investigators after the crash at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday that she was being bothered by allergies and a sneezing fit caused her to close her eyes, fall to the floor and lose control of the bus, the MBTA report said.

But investigators who reviewed video surveillance from the bus said Shaw “had an item in her left hand, consistent in size and shape, with a cellular telephone.”

One wheel of the bus was hanging over the highway in Newton, outside Boston, but police said it was never in danger of falling. Shaw and seven of the nine passengers on board received medical treatment.

Shaw at first said she did not have a phone, but an investigator heard a phone ring in her purse at the hospital, and she later admitted that she did, the report said. MBTA bus drivers as well as trolley and train operators are barred from carrying cellphones on the job.

She allowed police to check the phone’s history, which showed no text messages or phone calls sent or received since 5:30 a.m. that day, police said.

Shaw is charged with obstruction of justice, operating to endanger, speeding and impeded operation. She has been removed from service.

The investigation is ongoing.

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  • Lawrence

    Once again. If you think you can drive and use the phone, it’s just a matter of time.

    • hbk123

      The article states the police checked her phone and it had no incoming or outgoing calls or texts.

      She did not use her phone. The item seen in the surveillance camera “was consistent in size and shape” with a phone. So is a pack of tissues.

      Why bother with the truth when you’ve already decided her guilt.

      • Lawrence

        Well first of all what we do know is that she is a liar. Saying she did not even have a cell phone in her purse and then it rang, destroying any credibility she had left.

        The police who have access to information we do not, are saying it was indeed a cell phone, as the title of the article states.

        I mean really, she fell to the floor due to allergies? I find that really hard to believe.

      • Josh/HW

        Checking your email/twitter/fb would not leave a trace recognizable on the phone. just cause there wasn’t any incoming/outgoing phone calls or texts doesn’t mean she wasn’t using her phone.

      • X-Ray

        The driver of a motor vehicle, and most especially the driver of a bus, must not divide their attention to anything other than guiding the vehicle. That includes seeing who may be calling on your cell. So there is no reason to have a cell ‘phone in your hand or even in your possession.

  • gotham77

    The policy is clear, you can’t even have your phone on you when you’re operating the vehicle, to say nothing of actually using it. LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN YOUR LOCKER! You can retrieve it when your shift is over. Why is that so hard to follow?

  • Peeta Mellark

    Since we have many goals to consider pursuing, the basis for deciding which efforts are worth the risk must be estimates of useful value rather than useless merit.

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