Motor vehicle record of bus driver examined

Photo courtesy of Gary Geoffroy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The bus driver involved in the accident that claimed the life of a court security officer has been involved in four accidents since 2008, according to a review of motor vehicle, court and police records.

Katherine Gormley has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice according to Rhode Island Public Transit Authority officials.

According to a 2008 police report, Gormley was driving a RIPTA bus in Bristol when her vehicle was rear-ended.

Gormley was again behind the wheel of a RIPTA bus when she struck a parked car in Newport on Sept. 28, 2012, according to the police report. It states the car was legally parked at the time of the accident; there were no reports of injuries.

Her driving record indicates she was involved in another accident on May 30, 2013 in Bristol. A Bristol police accident report states she pulled off to the side of the road when another vehicle hit her bus.

In 2001, a cyclist filed a complaint with Bristol Police that Gormley struck a bike locked on a rack. Gormley denied the claim and it is unclear if she was ever found at fault in the incident.

According to DMV records Gormley – who has been with RIPTA for 27 years – received her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in 1992 and is still active. A CDL is required to drive a bus.

Records at the state’s traffic court show Gormley had only two traffic violations in the last 11 years. A speeding ticket in 2003 and a violation for “crossing the center line” of a highway in 2005.

Another speeding ticket in 2005 was dismissed, according to records.

Officials at RIPTA declined to comment about Gormley’s driving record.

Gormley has not been charged or even found at fault in the accident that killed 69 year-old Frank McKnight.

In a press conference U.S. District Court Chief Judge William Smith said the intersection where the accident occurred is a “hot spot” for problems.

He said he plans to meet with the mayor and police chief about improving traffic safety in Kennedy Plaza.

“I suspect the appropriate people are going to look at the whole situation,” Smith said.

McKnight died on Thursday as a result of the injuries he sustained during Wednesday’s bus accident.

He was on duty and walking across the street outside the courthouse when he was struck by the RIPTA bus near Kennedy Plaza. Police said surveillance footage shows the bus stopped at a red light, then turning on to Washington Street – where McKnight was crossing at a crosswalk.

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