DTA bus driver involved in fatal crash charged with criminal vehicular homicide
DULUTH, MN -- The woman driving the DTA bus that fatally struck a pedestrian in the Miller Hill Mall parking lot in September has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
Crystal Veronica Ball, 36, was working an overtime shift the morning of the crash, which happened around 9:54 a.m. on September 10.
Ball told authorities that she had pulled her bus along the sidewalk near the mall entrance near Dick’s Sporting Goods and there were two other buses pulled up to the shelter on the other side of the driving lane.
She said she had let a rider on to her bus and was looking toward one of the other buses when a pedestrian, David Weston, 64, caught her eye and waved to her as he was walking through the intersection.
Ball told authorities she waved back, noting Weston walked with what she described as a “shuffle.”
She said she assumed Weston made it to the sidewalk, looked to her left, and pulled away from the curb.
Ball said she didn’t see Weston again until she struck him with her bus.
Weston was pinned under the bus Ball was driving for some time and eventually died at the scene.
An investigator met with DTA supervisors and learned drivers are taught to “rock and roll” in their seat to see around the blind spots and make sure they are clear to move forward.
However, according to court documents, video taken from the DTA bus showed Ball did not do that to clear her blind spot before moving the bus forward.
Authorities also claim, based on time stamps in the video, the time from when Ball maneuvered the bus away from the curb until she hit Weston was about three seconds, “creating a situation where a reasonable driver could have avoided striking the victim,” according to court documents.
According to court documents, Ball had been employed by the DTA for about three years and was familiar with the bus and route she was driving.
Ball has been summoned to court, meaning she is not currently in jail.
She is expected to make her first court appearance on December 29.
Copyright 2021 KBJR. All rights reserved.