CTA Bus Driver Cited After Downtown Crash Kills Woman, Injures Eight

Police said the driver of the bus, Donald Barnes, received traffic citations for failing to stop at a red light and failing to exercise due care

A bus driver has been cited after a Chicago Transit Authority bus collided with several cars and hit pedestrians at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street during the Tuesday evening rush hour.

Police said the 49-year-old driver, who the CTA identified as Donald Barnes, received traffic citations for failing to stop at a red light and failing to exercise due care.

The transit agency said Barnes was hired at the beginning of September of last year and has a Commercial Driver's License with air brake and passenger endorsements. 

The Route 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express bus was traveling eastbound on Lake Street when police say it stopped, then proceeded through a red light and hit pedestrians and several other vehicles at North Michigan Avenue and East Lake Street before coming to a stop.

Both the CTA and the Chicago Police Department on Wednesday were examining the bus to see if there were any mechanical issues.

A 51-year-old woman, Aimee Coath of Flossmoor, was killed in the accident and eight others, including the bus driver, were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

"[The bus] hit the curb and went up on the curb and slammed into a concrete wall," said witness Robert Kudd. "People were screaming and running towards the bus. The bus driver was hurt. The windshield of the bus was out."

At least 10 ambulances were called to the scene.

No one except for Barnes was on the CTA bus at the time of the crash, according to fire officials and the CTA.

The articulated bus came to rest on the sidewalk adjacent to a plaza at 205 N. Michigan Ave. The bus was removed from the scene shortly before 8:30 p.m.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the driver has been driving for the transit agency for about a year. 

Investigators were looking into what caused the crash, and were analyzing video footage from a camera on board that shows the interior of the bus, Steele said. 

Parts of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street were closed to traffic for several hours. The CTA rerouted several buses around the crash scene.

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