By James Hohmann
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 25, 2009
Metro fired the bus driver who struck and critically injured a 30-year-old jogger north of Dupont Circle after an investigation into the Sept. 3 accident found that she acted improperly, the transit agency said Thursday.
Carla A. Proctor, 43, of Southeast Washington was driving an empty bus heading east on Florida Avenue NW when she hit Amanda Mahnke, communications director for Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), on Connecticut Avenue, according to a police report.
Proctor had been on paid administrative leave, but Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said she was terminated Monday.
"She was dismissed for failing to follow standard operating procedures," a statement from Metro said.
Farbstein declined to elaborate.
D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the police investigation into the Sept. 3 accident is continuing.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union that represents Proctor, announced Thursday that it will help her file a grievance challenging the termination.
Voice mail at a telephone number for Proctor was not accepting messages.
A Washington Post report Sept. 16 revealed that Proctor had been involved in two other on-the-job accidents in the previous seven years and had received five traffic tickets in January, according to court records.
On March 7, 2003, Proctor stepped out of her bus to check on a faulty door in the 1300 block of Morris Road, near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, according to court records. Lawsuits filed against Proctor and Metro alleged that the brake wasn't properly set and that the empty bus rolled down a hill and struck a car, setting off a chain of crashes that damaged seven vehicles as well as the bus.
On Dec. 30, 2004, Proctor crashed a Metrobus into the back of a parked vehicle as she turned onto the 1300 block of Wisconsin Avenue from O Street in Northwest Washington, according to a lawsuit that was later settled.
The citations in January, with fines totaling $660, included driving an uninsured vehicle, not having current tags and failing to display a registration card on demand. Proctor also received citations for operating an unregistered motor vehicle and failing to maintain insurance as required by law. A court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
Metro investigators determined both the 2003 and 2004 accidents were preventable, Farbstein said.
Metro policy says an employee will be dismissed after four "preventable-minor" or three "preventable-major" accidents on duty within 365 days.
General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. has ordered a comprehensive review of the 1989 employee safety handbook, and he said Thursday that Metro is considering changing the number of allowable accidents.
Robert Mahnke, the brother of the jogger who was struck, said Amanda Mahnke is now in stable condition and has been transferred out of the intensive-care unit at George Washington University Hospital.
"She has a long recovery ahead of her, though," he said.