LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – Police say there’s “no clear reason why” a Lebanon Transit bus driver couldn’t stop after a crash that sent 17 people to a hospital.
Police announced Thursday that the investigation into the Aug. 17 crash has been completed, but inspections by an independent contractor found no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure.
They said there is audible and visual evidence the driver, Dawn Fradera, tried to stop. No charges will be filed against her.
Police have cited the driver who hit the bus at South Ninth and Chestnut Streets. They said Jose Otero-Perez Jr. of North Cornwall Township drove through a steady red light and did not have a valid driver’s license.
After the initial collision, the bus continued east on Chestnut Street, then turned north on Ninth Street through a red light. A driver on Ninth swerved to avoid the bus and struck a building at the intersection. The driver was not injured and there was minor damage to the building, police said.
The bus driver continued north on 9th Street to the bridge over the railroad tracks, turned right on Church Street and struck the Covenant United Methodist Church, causing damage to the foundation. Police said she then tried to stop the bus by driving into a dumpster on the south side of Church Street. The impact pushed the dumpster into a utility pole and a home at the corner of Church and Gannon streets. No one in the home was injured.
Fradera and 16 passengers were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Police said at some point over the bridge, the bus is believed to have been traveling as slow as 5 mph because an open passenger door engaged a locking mechanism on the rear wheels. They said the locking mechanism does not have enough pressure to stop a moving bus.