Metro employee indicted in deadly 2008 crash

April 21, 2011

A D.C. judge ordered a Metro employee to submit to regular drug testing and relinquish his driver’s license Thursday after a D.C. grand jury indicted the former bus driver in a 2008 accident that left a California man dead.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz ordered Ronald W. Taylor of Seat Pleasant released on his own recognizance but demanded that Taylor, 40, not drive after the grand jury indicted him on one count of negligent homicide in the death of Bartlett M. Tabor, 55, of Alamo, Calif.

Taylor was driving a Metrobus west on Virginia Avenue NW about 8:15 p.m. Sept. 26, 2008, when the bus struck a minivan taxicab traveling south on 19th Street. The cab spun into the intersection before it came to a stop. Tabor was one of four passengers in the cab. There were no passengers on Taylor’s bus.

After hitting the cab, Taylor’s bus continued through the intersection, jumped a grassy area and landed on the grounds of the Federal Reserve Building at Virginia Avenue and C Street, according to police accounts.

Taylor had joined Metro six months before the accident. Investigators have been looking into the crash for nearly three years, interviewing witnesses. A grand jury returned the indictment Thursday, and U.S. marshals arrested Taylor at the Cheverly Station.

At the time of the accident, Metro thought Taylor had run a red light before the crash and fired him in October 2008. But a labor arbitrator disagreed, saying that a witness account was not credible and that he should return to work.

Metro reinstated Taylor as a station manager in June, placing him in a “nonsensitive safety job,” agency officials said at the time.

At the hearing Thursday, Taylor, his wrists and ankles shackled and standing next to his court-appointed lawyer, John Carney, pleaded with the judge not to revoke his driving privileges, saying he needed his license to drive for his job.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Truscott was unmoved. “He killed somebody while he was driving a Metrobus,” he said. Leibovitz agreed with the prosecutor.

Before the hearing, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said Taylor was on leave without pay.

Leibovitz set a follow-up hearing for June 29 and a trial date of Oct. 17.

The homicide charge wasn’t the first arrest for Taylor. In 1992, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of an unregistered gun and ammunition. A year later, a jury found him not guilty.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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