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RTD driver in latest multi-injury crash another contract worker

During a stretch in April, hardly a day went by without an RTD accident leading to injury or death -- and yesterday brought another major crash, with three people in a vehicle hit by a bus near Colfax and Osage being transported to nearly hospitals in critical or serious condition. According to RTD spokeswoman Daria Serna, the bus driver was a contract worker, like the person behind the wheel in one of the April smash-ups.

This April 6 post, about two fatal accidents over a three-day span, notes that the woman driving a bus that ran a red light near East 8th Avenue and Lincoln Street, leading to the deaths of Carla Miranda and Dustin Peletier, both 29, was employed by Veolia Transportation, an RTD contractor.

Likewise, the driver yesterday is a worker for First Transit, the other company with which RTD contracts. But at this point, says RTD spokeswoman Daria Serna, the Denver Police Department "has not cited us."

Such a citation could be forthcoming, of course. In the meantime, Serna notes that "we're working very closely with the local police department, and also with First Transit." She adds that the bus operator and the vehicle's single passenger weren't hurt in yesterday's crash.

After previous accidents, including one in Lafayette in which bicyclist Marvin Webb died and the RTD driver was charged with careless driving resulting in death, RTD's Scott Reed talked about the organization's decision to review and reiterate safety policies.

Serna's not sure if a repeat of this approach will take place now, since there's been no determination about whether or not the latest driver followed "the correct guidelines." Nevertheless, she continues, "we always emphasize safety on a daily basis."

After the April accidents, "we had every single operator go through a safety update class, to go over the current regulations and the current policies. And whenever there's any type of incident, we always go over what happened with the operator involved and are very proactive in how we handle situations, no matter how minor or major they are. We're always open to ways to improve, ways to get better."

She also stresses that "we have a good safety record compared to other agencies throughout the country."

But there's no guarantee that'll remain the case indefinitely.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts