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RIPTA, state police: Bus involved in crash in full working order

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Both RIPTA and the Rhode Island State Police have inspected a bus involved in a serious crash Monday night, and both agencies said the vehicle is in full working order.

Nine people were sent to the hospital after the bus full of passengers barreled into a bus shelter on Waterman Street in Providence just before 6 p.m. Monday.

The 2011 bus was towed from the scene around midnight. Pieces of debris, including large pieces of glass were collected and placed onto the bus. The bus sustained significant damage. The windshield is gone and there is damage to the front passenger corner.

According to police, the bus driver – identified in a police crash report as Andre Blemur – told investigators he stepped on the brake to stop at the bus stop, but instead, the bus accelerated.

RIPTA spokeswoman Barbara Polichetti said the agency inspected the bus Tuesday and found nothing wrong.

“As we continue our investigation into the accident of May 9, 2016, RIPTA has completed a review of the bus and our preliminary findings are that the vehicle was in full working order,” she explained. “No mechanical problems were found with any of the systems – including the braking system.”

Later on Tuesday, state police completed their inspection and said the brakes appeared to be in “proper working condition,” according to Providence police.

Polichetti said the vehicle was last inspected by the DMV on Dec. 15, 2015.

RIPTA said Blemur has been with the agency for 13 months and hasn’t had any major issues. He was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police have seized his cell phone as part of their investigation and issued him two citations.

Polichetti said whatever the outcome of the investigation, RIPTA’s board will work to make any necessary changes to its procedures.

This isn’t the first serious incident involving a RIPTA bus. There were five others over the past 12 months. One of those happening in Warwick, where a bus crashed into a store on Post Road.

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