Warwick crash was latest in stretch involving RIPTA buses

Emergency crews on the scene of an accident involving a RIPTA bus on May 20, 2015. Photo: WPRI 12/Tyler Unwin

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been a difficult couple of years for the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) as several lives have been lost in accidents involving the agency’s buses.

A crash Monday night that left two people in critical condition and a third with minor injuries was the latest in a stretch of incidents involving RIPTA buses.

In May of 2014, Security Officer Frank McKnight was crossing the road in front of the Federal Courthouse in Providence where he worked when he was hit and killed by a RIPTA bus. Our review of the driver’s records revealed she had been in four other motor vehicle accidents while driving a RIPTA bus.

In November of that year, another bus collided with a pedestrian, injuring her.

“Her whole body was under the bus,” one eyewitness recalled. “When I came around, I really was expecting the worst.”

Early last year, 9-year-old Ani Emdjian died after she was hit by a RIPTA bus while crossing Smith Street in Providence on her way to school. That investigation found the driver was going below the speed limit and was not at fault.

Then, in May of 2015, Bobbi Moore was trying to catch a RIPTA bus that was pulling away when she somehow fell underneath and was run over. She died more than three months later.

“She was banging on the bus so she could get on,” said Pauline Goss, who had just gotten off the bus. “And he just kept going slowly and then he ran right over her, and he had to stop because everyone was screaming.”

RIPTA officials said the driver acted appropriately and it was just a terrible accident.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who also acts as the chairman of RIPTA’s board, said passenger safety is the number-one concern and that the agency hopes people still have confidence about boarding their buses.

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