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Police Investigate Reported ART Bus Hit and Run

by ARLnow.com August 25, 2011 at 10:00 am 3,182 40 Comments

Police are investigating a possible hit and run involving an Arlington Transit bus.

A driver told police that an ART bus hit his driver’s side door near the intersection of S. Courthouse Road and 2nd Street, then continued on its way. No injuries were reported.

Police arrived to interview the driver and take photos of the car. A representative from Forsythe Transportation, which contracts with the county to run the ART bus fleet, also arrived and talked to police. Later, a passerby told ARLnow.com that a No. 42 ART bus was offloaded at S. Courthouse and 2nd Street as police inspected it.

Earlier this summer Forsythe fired a number of striking ART bus drivers and went on a hiring spree to quickly replace them. We’re awaiting comment from the county’s Department of Environmental Services, which is responsible for the county’s transit services.

Update at 10:45 a.m. — The ART web site reports that all buses going through S. Courthouse Road are “late due to… police activity.”

  • YTK

    I have HATED LOATEHD and DESPISED the ART buses since their inception — the ROUTES are GREAT– but the buses are sometimes very late, some of the drivers are Misogynistic, sometimes speed by the elderly waiting at the stops because they do not want to pick them up — are sometimes rude and sometimes drive their buses like they were driving the old donkey carts back home. The DRIVERS AND MANAGEMENT of ART need an OVERHAUL!!!!!!!

    • CW

      Nice hypocrisy there…if you’re against misogynism, shouldn’t you also be against xenophobia and racism as well?

      • YTK

        That’s EZ – I’m a hypocrite.

        • AllenB

          At least your honesty is refreshing.

      • Make that


  • Bob

    Out of curiosity… Why did you blur the face of 1 of the 5 police officers in the top photo?

    • Upon request, we blur faces of police officers who also do certain types of investigative work.

      • Bob


      • SomeGuy

        Curious, would you do the same for a non law enforcement citizen who requested to not have his/her face shown on your blog? If not, why not?

        • ZoningVictim

          My guess would be “no,” but who cares? Most people would not want to be in the news if given the choice, but most of them also would not be put at risk if their picture were posted.

          Posting a picture of an undercover police officer, especially one who is wearing a uniform, risks the life of that officer and hampers future investigations because that police officer would never be able to go undercover again. This really isn’t something to get all excited about.

          • SomeGuy

            ZoningVictim, I’ll clarify that I’m not “all excited about” it. But regarding your question about who cares, I think anyone whose face may be published here probably cares. And I’m sure that the purveyor of this site, whom most of us would consider a journalist, also cares from the standpoint of his journalistic integrity.

            Note that I haven’t commented on the rightness or wrongness of it. I was merely asking if others would be afforded the same courtesy of having their photos blurred upon request. And if not, are there any guidelines observed in doling out that subjectivity?

          • CW

            I agree with SomeGuy. MTV, for example, blurs the faces of all passers-by on its shows historically.

            What if the article was about a prostitution bust and you (male anonymous bystander) were in the background? Would you like to be permanently associated with that in the public domain?

          • ZoningVictim

            I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but there is a reasonable expectation of being caught on film and broadcast without your consent on news reports, traffic cams, the OC boardwalk cam, etc. I was looking at things from that light.

          • SomeGuy

            Yes, and even an undercover officer has a reasonable expectation of being caught on film. CW’s example is a different context, but I presume subject to the same guidelines, assuming there are guidelines.

            I do understand the desire of a police officer to not want to have his face published, for fear or retribution, privacy concerns, effects on future work, etc. Likewise, I’m sure there’s a desire from other folks who get pictured here to not want to have their faces published for the exact same reasons: fear of retribution, privacy concerns, future work opportunities, etc.

            Both an officer and those other folks I mentioned have valid reasons, so is one person’s request somehow given more credence than another’s?

            Perhaps ArlNow hasn’t seen these questions/comments, or is deliberately not answering them (which I could understand because it’s a very thorny issue). But this should provoke some thought for him.

    • Too handsome

      You couldn’t handle it.

  • CW

    Look at the damage and then look at the attached picture of an ART bus. Does anyone else think they don’t quite line up? The point of impact on the car was above the top of the tire – thus at least I’d say 24″ off the ground. Now look at the bumper of the ART bus. Much lower – top of bumper at 1/2 the height of the bus wheel – maybe 16″. If it was struck by the bus bumper, it seems too high an impact. If it was straight up sideswiped by the bus, then how did the sideview mirror remain intact?

    • charlie

      what is missing from this article is sequence.
      here is my opinion…

      door opens. bus tags it. pinches it and pushes it pass the hinges. the crease on the front quarter panel is from the pressure of the hinges pulling back.

      it is pretty scary to see happen. but basically the person was probably getting in/our of the car and the bus pinched the door.

    • John B

      ART also uses the “shuttle” type van/bus/coach thing, I believe.

      • CW

        That could be it. Still surprised it did not take the mirror off!!

        • ZoningVictim

          I don’t think you’re seeing the point of impact in these pictures. I think the impact was further back on the door and you’re looking at the result of the door being pushed forward.

        • charlie

          CW, if the door is opened it will get pushed FURTHER open. thus causing the car to buckle. once the hinge has been popped, the door looses any force and it is unlikely to smash the mirror.
          this image might help explain it. and it is kind of cool too given what happens to the little chick.

          • CW

            Oh, gotcha, ok, makes perfect sense now. A little slow this afternoon.

            So what do our experts on traffic laws say about opening your door into the path of an oncoming bus? Frankly, if that happened on the right side of the bus (which is how it would have to have worked), it’s likely the bus driver would not have even noticed it.

          • ZoningVictim

            I’m not sure about VA, but that happened to a friend of mine in DC, and it’s always the fault of the person who opened the door there.

          • CW

            My gut feeling would be that as well…

    • roquer

      Doesn’t appear to be a sideswipe to me. Very little paint transfer in the above photo of the car. The major part of the dent in the photo was at the top of the car tire. Assume the wheel is 14-15″, the strike might be 2 feet. That’s put it right in line with the bus bumper and just above it. Most likely, the bus was either braking or turning, either of which would cause the bumper to dip down, lowering it somewhat from its normal position. Seems right to me.

  • Bender

    Are the drivers hired after some of the strikers were fired also in the union? Didn’t the union, wouldn’t the union, insist that the new drivers also be in the union? If so, then this was a union driver who did this, yes?

    Has there ever been any union drivers of WMATA buses who have hit cars (or pedestrians)? Or hit cars and then driven away? I seem to remember it on more than one occasion.

    So, just exactly how is the firing of striking drivers relevant (other than as a transparent partisan bias in favor of unions)?

    • ZoningVictim

      You can’t force workers in VA to join a union as a condition of employment. We’re a right to work state. I remember reading complaints from a pro-union person about how it irked them that people in VA could refuse to join the union since they still reaped all the benefits of the union deals but didn’t have to pay any dues. Never having joined a union, it would irk me to have to pay dues to get a job.

  • just me

    I was on an ART bus when the driver wouldn’t stop to let people off until he wanted to, he was driving way to fast and had to slam on the breaks to stop light.

    • nauckneighbor

      I’m glad to see the police have finally taken these acts seriously. I was hit by an ART bus back on June 17th and even called the police when it happened and to follow up with the ART BUS #41 and license plate number but never heard back. I still have the green paint on my car to prove it! I honked and the bus driver just drove away with no assistance from the Arlington Police Department.

  • Steve85

    S. Courthouse rd. is a tough steet for buses to drive on. I board the 16Y bus to work and especially in the afternoon cars are blocking the bus from pulling close to the sidewalk for the people to get off at the bus stop. Also with parking on both sides of the street its also tough for the buses to pass thru. Maybe this can be addressed to help the situation to help the buses and the neighborhood.

  • Tabby

    Encountered a very rude, screaming-at-me 77 bus driver this morning, who closed the door in my face–he tried to claim I was not right at the stop and he didn’t have to pick me up!

    • V Dizzle

      Why did he or she scream at you?

  • Sarah

    The bus driver on my route often speeds and then slams on the brakes at stop signs/lights, mostly because he is late. Before the strike, the driver was always on time. I have asked the driver to slow down several times, and complained to ART, but nothing has changed. These are small residential streets he is speeding though!

  • driven

    ART bus experience:
    1. tried to catch one once, but it was 30 minutes late
    2. while I was riding my bike, an ART bus driver looked me squarely in the eye as he pulled right into my path
    3. there are better alternatives on columbia pike

  • Kevin O’Brien

    I’m only surprised there aren’t more accidents involving ART buses.
    I ride ART regularly and hardly a day goes by that I don’t witness an ART driver operating a bus in a reckless manner.

    • Woof.

      I would agree with Kevin’s comment.

  • Brandon C

    The ART has been both a Godsend and at the same time a curse from the seventh layer of hell which coincidentally is the same place that the Taco Bell in Courthouse acquired their meat before they closed.

    I’ve encountered both courteous and safe drivers and rude and dangerous drivers in equal amounts. I won’t step into hyperbolic territory simply because that’s what the terrorists and Ed Begley Jr. want.

  • roquer

    I’ve never ridden an ART bus but have thought about it being so convienent a lot. Are the drivers really rude? Seems like the County could do something about that.

  • Wildhair

    Pre-strike, the ART drivers were much better and very courteous. The new drivers are inexperienced and rude. The new driver on the 61 route takes off before you can sit down and slams on the brakes at every stop. Unless the weather is lousy….I’d rather walk.


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