New York’s powerful Transport Workers Union is threatening a “letter-of-the-law”
city-wide slowdown after a bus driver was arrested for running over a Brooklyn schoolgirl.
Jiahuan Xu, 15, was in the intensive care unit in Bellevue Saturday morning, 24 hours after a Q59 bus making a left onto Grand. St.iin Williamsburg struck her, pinning her shattered leg.
Multiple witnesses reported she had the walk light. Cops charged driver Francisc De Jesus, 58, of Queens, with failure to yield, which under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to reduce pesdestrian deaths is a misdemeanor; he was also charged with failure to exercise due care. They gave him a desk appearance ticket.
TWU’s Local 100 is insisting the tougher laws do not apply to their on-duty drivers.
“It’s an accident. It’s not a crime,” union vice president JP Patafio said, according to CBS2. “The law exempts city workers …We are city workers.”
The Daily News reports that Patafio may call a job action in protest of the NYPD charges.
“If they’re going to apply the letter of the law, we’re going to apply the letter of the law — and traffic ain’t going to be moving very fast,” Patafio said. “We have to protect our operators from being arrested.”
And when a major safety group that advocates for bicyclists praised cops, Local 100 President John Samuelsen called the group’s head a “jackass.”
“We commend the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad for arresting the driver,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said.
“MTA bus drivers struck and killed nine pedestrians last year, and eight of those cases involved a driver failing to yield while making a turn. MTA bus operators must exercise due care and yield the right of way to pedestrians, and they should be setting the standard for driver behavior in the Vision Zero era.”
Samuelsen’s response, according to The News, was to call White a “phony progressive intellectual jackass,”
“His comments are absurd and constitute a total lack of understanding of the incredibly difficult work our operators perform,” Samuelsen said.
Xu was on her way to school when the bus hit her.
“She grabbed my hand and said, ‘Dad, I feel pieces of my ripped up leg,’” her dad, Jingxiang Xu said.
“My little girl did nothing wrong, and now she’s scared to death,” he told CBS.
The family is praying that doctors won’t have to amputate her leg.