No Problems Found With Steering Wheel of Crashed CTA Bus

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CSN Bay Area staff

An initial inspection of a CTA bus that crashed after running off Lake Shore Drive Saturday  -- injuring 37 people  -- found no problems with the steering wheel despite claims from the driver and passengers on the bus.

The inspection found all systems to be in good condition, agency officials said Thursday.

But a court order filed Wednesday has prevented the agency from doing other tests that would include disassembling the steering equipment, CTA President Richard Rodriguez said in a statement.

The court order, which came after a passenger on the bus who was injured filed a lawsuit, also placed on hold work to retrieve data from a "black box" recorder from the bus.

Rodriguez said the agency “will not be able to complete the investigation until we can resume inspecting the bus.” He said the driver has been cooperating "fully" with the investigation.

The 57-year-old bus driver said that she had been driving the bus without incident just past McCormick Place when the front wheels started pulling hard to the right and she couldn’t pull the bus straight.  She told officials that she believed the power-steering system on the bus failed.

Passengers said in interviews that the driver couldn’t straighten the wheel, even with the help of another passenger.

The union has complained about the CTA not doing timely preventative maintenance on buses. The CTA said the bus was last inspected Sept. 17, and the inspection found no steering or handling related defects.

The driver had been hired in August of 2009 but was laid off in February and recalled to service last month. She passed the drug and alcohol test administered after the crash.

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