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MTA driver dies after being ejected from bus

July 28, 2007|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

An MTA driver was killed when he was ejected and run over by his own bus after being broadsided by another motorist who allegedly ran a red light, officials said Friday.

Gregory Bradley, 35, of Compton apparently was not wearing a seat belt when his bus was struck at 120th Street and Wilmington Avenue in unincorporated Willowbrook about 8:45 p.m. Thursday, said Sgt. Patrick Donnelly of the California Highway Patrol. Bradley, who died at the scene, was thrown through the driver's window and run over by the rear wheels of the bus, Donnelly said.

The other motorist, Richard Jones, 41, of Inglewood was in critical condition Friday at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. A hospital spokeswoman said privacy laws prevented her from listing his injuries. Officials had not determined whether Jones, who police said was driving a Lincoln Navigator, was wearing a seat belt.

Officials will determine if charges will be filed against Jones after the investigation is completed, Donnelly said.

Investigators were trying to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling. Donnelly said it appeared they were moving at a "substantial speed" because the front end of the SUV underwent "massive front-end damage." Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses are equipped with seat belts for drivers, and they are required to wear them, Donnelly said.

Jones was northbound on Wilmington Avenue when he struck Bradley's bus, which was westbound on 119th Street, said MTA spokesman Luis Inzunza.

The sole passenger on the bus, an unidentified male, was taken to Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital with minor injuries. He complained of pain in his right arm, face and an eye, Inzunza said.

Bradley began as a part-time driver with the agency in 1997 and was hired full time two years later, Inzunza said. He didn't know if Bradley was married or had children.

Bus operator Baronda Johnson, who works in the same South Los Angeles district as Bradley, described him as a "mellow, relaxed, laid-back type of guy."

Johnson said Bradley's death was the topic of discussion among many MTA operators Friday.

"It was sad when I came in this morning, knowing that he had passed away," she said. "Everyone's kind of hurting."

Nevertheless, she said, it didn't make her fear for her own safety.

"So much happens out there every day," she said. "You just have to be cautious."


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