AUBURN, Mass. — The man driving a regional transit bus that crashed into a house in central Massachusetts earlier this week was on his first day of service.
Francis Artey, 27, of Worcester, was driving the Worcester Regional Transit Authority bus that cut across a lawn and slammed into a house in Auburn on Monday, the Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday.
John Carney, general manager of the authority's Transit Services, emphasized it wasn't Artey's first day of work but rather his first day driving the bus while it was in service.
Artey is an experienced school bus driver with an excellent driving record, Carney said. Before taking the wheel Monday, he went through a rigorous eight-week training, including driving the bus in traffic, Carney said.
"We don't put someone in service until they've proven themselves to us they know what they're doing," he told the newspaper.
Police said it appears the brakes weren't applied before the bus smashed into the house, meaning Artey may have had a medical problem or there may have been a mechanical problem with the bus, Auburn police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis Jr. said.
Sluckis said data from the bus's data recorder indicates the bus was going 38 mph just before it smashed into the house.
A woman and her three sons, ranging in age from 6 to 14, were all home, but no one in the house was seriously injured. Four passengers on the bus also escaped serious injury. Artey was hospitalized after suffering fractures and facial cuts.