Feds Rule Out Mechanical Failure in Bus Crash

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Vigil for MTA bus driver, Courtesy WBAL-TV
Vigil for MTA bus driver, Courtesy WBAL-TV

Another day, another step in the investigation of Tuesday’s mysterious fatal bus collision in Southwest Baltimore. Today, federal investigators said they determined neither the MTA bus nor the school bus had any mechanical defects that caused them to collide.

The National Transportation Safety Board stepped in on the investigation the same day it happened. Its investigators are assisting police with sorting out what caused late school bus driver Glenn Chappell to run into a Ford Mustang and an oncoming MTA commuter bus on Tuesday morning. The crash killed six people, including both bus drivers and four MTA bus passengers.

So far, we know that Chappell was not legally supposed to be driving the bus, and that he was going above the speed limit when it happened. Now, we know it wasn’t the machinery in either bus that was responsible.

It will likely be weeks before we get a preliminary report on the accident from the NTSB that could give additional clues why it happened. For now, authorities are working to fix the hard drives from the buses that have surveillance footage showing what it all looked like from inside.

Police announced today that they had identified the sixth victim killed in the accident as Pattie Lynn Martinez, 46. Her family was reached shortly after the press conference.

Furthermore, police actually had a couple of corrections to previously released information, which can be expected amid such chaos. Firstly, there was an 11th injured person, a 29-year-old woman, who is stable in the hospital. The known number of injured for the last couple days was 10 victims. Police also said the school bus did not actually run into a pillar after hitting the Ford Mustang on Frederick Avenue, as Smith had previously mentioned. The pillar was apparently already damaged.

BPD spokesman T.J. Smith said he has watched as Baltimore area residents grieve over the lives lost, and encouraged patience from those seeking answers.

“These folks have families out there, so we need to make sure we keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” he said. “We know people want answers, and we’re doing everything we can as fast as we can, but with the respect that’s due in this investigation.”

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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