Judge Orders MTA Pay $1.9M For Bus Death

On November 4, 2009, Seth Kahn lost his life after being struck by an MTA Express Bus while crossing the street at Ninth Ave & 53rd St. He met his inevitable demise at the hands of someone who arguably should not have even been on the road. Over 2 years later, a judge has ordered the MTA to pay $1.9M to his family. Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more:

The MTA gave Jeremy Philhower the keys to a 35,000-pound bus when it should have given him a broom.

It was a tragic and costly mistake.

On his first day back from a suspension for texting while driving, Philhower ran over and killed a 22-year-old artist crossing a street in midtown in November of 2009.
It was deemed an accident. An avoidable accident.

Now, more than two years later, a Manhattan jury has ordered the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to pay Seth Kahn’s parents $1.9 million, although no amount of money will fill the void left by their son’s death.

Approximately seven weeks before the accident, a concerned rider complained to the MTA that Philhower was texting behind the wheel. The NYC Transit division conducted an internal investigation. Not only was Philhower texting while on duty, he was writing some frightening comments on his Facebook page, officials said. They included:

“Thinking about how many people i want 2 kill 2day including myself”

“I really wanna kick the s**t out of all of them”

“People on my bus revere me as a god”

An investigator also observed Philhower reading the newspaper while stopped at a red light.

His existing track record wasn’t pristine. It already included two red-light violations and a reprimand for “reckless operation of a bus.”

The MTA made the right first move. It suspended Philhower and took steps to fire him. But when it was overruled by a contract arbitrator who thought the punishment was too harsh, the MTA simply swept its concerns under the rug and moved on.

After a brief period of refresher training, Philhower was back behind the wheel of an express bus on Nov. 4.

He was heading to a depot and, apparently to avoid traffic, went off the route he was supposed to take, authorities said. He struck Kahn, of Mamaroneck, while turning at Ninth Ave. and 53rd St.

MTA drivers are instructed not to exceed 5 mph when making a turn, but Philhower was going two or three times faster, according to a state Public Transportation Safety Board report. He also failed to “scan appropriately” for pedestrians, according to the report.

Click here for the complete report.

One has to seriously question why this man was put back on the road. His record left a lot to be desired & those outbursts definitely put into question his mental psyche. His actions clearly warranted a firing yet instead we got a death out of it. $1.9M is nothing to makeup for this man’s pathetic actions. Karma will get him one way or another, I am sure of it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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