CTA identifies bus driver in deadly Michigan Avenue crash

SHARE CTA identifies bus driver in deadly Michigan Avenue crash

A CTA bus driver who allegedly ran a red light and drove onto a crowded sidewalk near Michigan Avenue and Lake Street during the Tuesday evening rush hour, leaving one woman dead and seven others injured, has been identified.

Donald Barnes, 48, was issued two citationsfor failure to stop at a red light and failure to exercise due care, according to Chicago Police and the CTA.

Barnes, who has been with the CTA for less than a year, has not yet been disciplined by the transit agency.

THE VICTIM Aimee Coath, 51, was planning daughter’s wedding

“The CTA needs to complete its investigation before any employment action would be taken,” spokesman Jeff Tolman said Thursday morning.

About 5:50 p.m., the No. 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express bus was eastbound on Lake Street when it crashed at Michigan Avenue.

The bus was initially stopped at a red light, but then proceeded through the light, striking two pedestrians and at least three other vehicles before jumpingthe curb, Chicago Police said.The accordion-style bus came to rest on the sidewalk on the north side of Lake, east of Michigan.

Ninepeople, including the 48-year-old man driving the bus and two pedestrians, were injured in the crash. No one except the driver was on the bus at the time, authorities said.

One pedestrian, 51-year-old Aimee Coath of the 2600 block of Central Drive in Flossmoor, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy found she died of multiple injuries and her death was ruled an accident.

Everyone else suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Evanston resident Julie Larkin works in the Michigan Plaza building near the site of the crash, and said she was in a first-floor CVS when she heard a scream and then “a horrible thuddy crash.”

She ran outside to see the bus driver with his eyes closed, apparently unconscious. Several good Samaritans got on the bus to check on him while she called 911.

“I’ll never forget that scream,” Larkin said.

Investigators are analyzingvideo footage from a camera on board that shows the interior of the bus, Steele said.

The police Major Accident Investigation Unit is also looking into the crash.

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