Attorneys call bus driver careless
Updated On: May 16 2013 05:39:08 PM EDT
Surveillance video showed a Broward County transit bus driver acting carelessly and ignoring warnings from passengers before running over a 14-year-old boy, attorneys representing the boy's family said Wednesday.
The attorneys for Jerry Cunningham's family said he had eight seconds to get on the bus last Friday.
"If you don't know, you don't go. It's as simple as that," attorney Glen Levine said Wednesday.
The video showed a passenger telling the driver "Runner's coming" before the bus stopped. Another angle showed Cunningham (pictured right) sprinting to the bus stop.
Cunningham ran up alongside the bus as the doors closed, video showed. A woman standing in the front appeared to tell the driver, 55-year-old Reinaldo Soto, someone was trying to get on.
Soto raised his hand as if to say they had to go.
But Cunningham's hand was stuck in the door and video showed Soto may not have seen him because two standing passengers blocked his view.
As the bus pulled away, Cunningham ran alongside it for about five seconds before falling down.
"That's his job as the bus driver. He's responsible for the safe operation of the bus," said Levine.
Cunningham suffered head fractures, a broken jaw, ankle and ribs, and a collapsed lung. He's in a medically-induced coma and remains in critical condition.
"At this point no one has said that he is out of the woods yet," said attorney Elie Andijar.
The attorneys believe Soto knew Cunningham and his mother because they took that bus to his school every morning. They said the boy and his mother deserved more than eight seconds to get on his bus.
"Taking an extra second to make sure that everyone who's supposed to be on the bus actually gets on the bus is the job of the bus driver, and apparently that did not happen," said Levine.
Local 10 obtained Soto's county driving record. It listed 11 accidents -- three were ruled preventable; twice he clipped another bus; and, once he hit a car. None of the accidents resulted in injuries.
READ: Soto's driving record |
Soto has been a bus operator with Broward County Transit since Feb. 2002. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.