The crash this Wednesday, June 9, was nowhere near as bad—no one was injured—but is disturbing because TriMet's version of events differs dramatically from the driver whose car was crunched.
Here's how TriMet describes the incident:
Operator of a Line 8 bus was making a left-hand turn from SW Madison to 4th Avenue, following proper procedure by straddling two lanes on Madison before swinging left into the left-hand lane on 4th. The auto attempted to get in left lane and got too close to the bus. The two made contact. There were no passengers on the bus and no injuries to the operator or the person in the car. Minor damage to the auto and paint transfer on the bus.
Elizabeth Becker, who was a passenger in the car, writes her account via email. She says her car wasn't "attempting to get in the left lane", it was sitting in the left lane next to the bus at the red light:
When the light turned green, the bus turned left in front of us, smashing the front right corner of our vehicle. We were still stopped at this point. The bus scraped along our car for several seconds—it seemed like eternity—and then didn't immediately seem to slow down once it completed its turn. I leaned over and laid on the horn to get the bus driver's attention and make sure she stopped... My husband asked what she thinking and why she hit us, and mentioned that the crash was very similar to the crash that occurred last month when the pedestrians were killed. He did not raise his voice or swear or insult her directly. The driver seemed pretty stressed, and immediately reacted defensively, saying that none of the drivers purposely went out to kill people and it was a very stressful job with all the jaywalkers and bicyclists to watch out for, and she was probably going to have to leave TriMet if the accident was found to be her fault...
After her supervisors showed up, one took our version of the events while the other spoke the driver. The supervisor who was speaking with the driver came over to interrupt us twice. The first time he came to ask us if we had called the driver stupid or otherwise intimidated her, and that she was pretty shaken up. I explained that we had not, except for mentioning the previous crash, which didn't seem out of line, but the supervisor told us that it was completely unacceptable to have said that. The second time he interrupted us to say that the driver claimed she was straddling the line preparing to make a left turn and we shouldn't have been in the lane next to her. However, there was plenty of room for our car to fit in the left lane when we pulled up.
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