Ruth Mullen Died In MTA Express Bus Crash In The Bronx Along Johnson Avenue and Kappock Street
THE BRONX, NEW YORK (September 8, 2021) – A beloved writer and politico identified as Ruth Mullen has tragically died after being struck by an MTA bus just outside of her home on Johnson Avenue.
New York City police officials are saying that the bus accident took place around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday not far from the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Ruth Mullen was crossing the street when she was struck by a BxM18 MTA bus turning left onto Johnson Avenue from Kappock Street.
The bus pinned the victim following the turn causing her to sustained critical injuries. First responders were able to extricate the victim from underneath the MTA bus.
Despite the life-saving measures of firefighters and paramedics, Ruth Mullen was pronounced dead at the scene. The bus driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.
It remains unclear if the bus driver will receive any citations following the collision.
Liability In Bronx MTA Bus Accidents
Nearly 63,000 bus accidents occur every year in the United States. This results in around 325 fatalities and 14,000 non-fatal injuries. Buses are one of the safest forms of transportation for bus passengers. But buses pose a number of unique hazards to pedestrians and passenger vehicles. For example, buses have large blind spots that can easily obscure the presence of pedestrians. There are a number of steps that bus drivers should take to reduce pedestrian collisions.
- Awareness: Bus drivers should be aware of where their blind spots are. They are all over the bus including the front, both sides and the rear.
- Caution: Bus drivers should be particularly cautious in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Left Turns: Bus drivers must be particularly cautious and check crosswalks as well as cross traffic before making left turns.
- Blind Spots: Bus drivers are trained to rock forward and backwards to check their blind spots before making turns.
Many bus companies in New York are considered “common carriers” and must therefore do all that they can to avoid collisions. They must exercise reasonable care for the safety of their passengers and others on the roadway. According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1142(b), drivers must yield the right of way to any pedestrians lawfully crossing a roadway which they are driving. Drivers must wait to make turns until they can be made with reasonable safety under New York VAT § 1163.
When a driver strikes a pedestrian lawfully in a marked crosswalk while making a left turn this may be considered prima facie evidence of their failure to yield the right of way. Consider, for example, the case of Griffin v. Pennoyer, which involved two vehicles. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York ruled in favor of summary judgement against the driver of the vehicle making a left turn. There could be numerous factors that may influence the occurrence of any bus accident including:
- Inadequately trained or otherwise unqualified drivers
- Bus drivers that are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescriptions
- Bus drivers that are sleep deprived or over-worked
- Poorly maintained buses
Depending on the specific facts of any case there could be numerous sources of liability for a bus accident. Companies are typically vicariously liable for the negligence of their drivers – when those drivers were working within the course and scope of their job duties. A city could also potentially be liable for an accident if the bus involved was owned or operated by the city. According to the MTA, “We manage, maintain, and run subway and bus service in New York City.” Victims of bus accidents are protected by a number of laws.
The family of any victim that died in an accident with an MTA bus may be able to seek justice through a civil claim. The claim must arise from a “wrongful act, neglect or default.” Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills, loss of love and funeral expenses. Sadly, bus companies will often fight extremely hard to deny responsibility for any accident. Following any collision, there should be a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led up to the crash.
Investigating A Bronx MTA Bus Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ruth Mullen. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. This was a preventable tragedy that should have never taken place. It is our sincere hope that there is accountability for the sake of the victim’s family.
There are also a number of questions that need to be answered. Why did the bus driver not yield to the victim? Is there a history of accidents at this particular intersection? Could this tragedy have been prevented? There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened. City officials should not turn a blind eye to this tragedy and consider measures to make this location safer for everyone.