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August 9th, 2010

Metro Fires Wrecker Driver after Fatal Houston Bus-Pedestrian Accident

This week, the Metropolitan Transit Authority fired a wrecker driver involved in a fatal Houston accident that killed a 64-year-old woman.  The wrecker driver, Gregory Clark had been working for Metro for the past 32 years.  Clark had been driving the wrecker, which crashed into a pickup truck that had stopped to let a pedestrian cross the street.  A passenger in the pickup truck sustained fatal injuries.  The driver of the pickup was also injured.

After the crash, Clark was administered an alcohol test, which he failed.  On Wednesday, the agency fired him.

Metro police say they’re working with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Clark.  According to Metro records, Clark did not have a history of other infractions, except for a suspension of three days, earlier this year for being off his route.  However, a look at his driving history reveals an entirely different story.  Clark has had a total of 19 traffic violations over the past eight years alone.  Among these are seven citations for speeding.

Metro has released a statement, saying that this incident is not a reflection of the company’s safety culture.  However for Houston personal injury lawyers handling bus accidents, it’s hard to look at the company’s safety culture without suspicion.  After all, Clark had a history of 19 traffic violations, several of which were for speeding, and he was still able to find employment at a transit agency that’s responsible for transporting hundreds of Houstonians daily. When you have a wrecker driver who was drunk on the job, it’s hard not to take it as a reflection of the agency’s safety culture.

This accident comes during a time when there is increased scrutiny over Metro’s safety record.  The Houston Chronicle did an investigative report last month on Metro’s safety culture, and found that there are far too many Metro bus accidents that cause property damage, injuries and even deaths.

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