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Friday, March 23, 2012

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Former Metro Bus Operator Pleads Guilty To Negligent Homicide
In 2008 Fatal Crash in Northwest Washington
- Defendant Crashed into a Taxi, Killing a California Businessman -

     WASHINGTON - Ronald W. Taylor, 41, a former bus driver for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, pled guilty today to a charge of negligent homicide in a traffic fatality that took place in 2008, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Taylor, of Laurel, Md., pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Ronna L. Beck scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2012. Taylor faces up to three years of imprisonment on the negligent homicide charge. In addition, at the time he committed this offense, Taylor was on parole in Maryland for two prior drug felonies. He faces additional penalties in Maryland for violating his parole.

     At this morning’s plea hearing, Taylor admitted that he was driving his Metro bus about 8:15 p.m. on September 26, 2008, along Virginia Avenue NW, from Constitution Avenue toward the intersection with 19th Street NW. Taylor’s bus was not carrying any passengers as he was “Not In Service,” heading to Metro’s Western Garage in Friendship Heights.

     The government’s evidence would have established that when Taylor’s bus reached the intersection at 19th Street, he ran the solid red light, which had been red for at least 17 seconds, and entered the intersection. A taxi already had entered the intersection when the light turned green for southbound traffic on 19th Street. The passengers included Bartlett M. Tabor, 55, his wife, Katherine, and their children, who were then nine and 10 years old. The Tabor family was visiting Washington, D.C. from their home state of California.

     Taylor crashed his bus into the taxi, destroying the cab. Mr. Tabor was later pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital. The taxi driver, Equar Negash, was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken collar bone. Mrs. Tabor suffered a broken sternum, and the children suffered minor physical injuries.

     After crashing into the taxi, Taylor lost control of his bus, crossed into the opposite lanes of traffic on Virginia Avenue, left the roadway, vaulted a granite retaining wall and crashed into the Owen Park Fountain on the grounds of the Federal Reserve Board. Expert analysis of the Metro bus’s Electronic Control Module (ECM), or “black box,” determined that at the time he crashed into the Tabor’s taxi, Taylor’s bus was traveling at 41.5 miles per hour. The speed limit in that area at the time was posted as 25 miles per hour.

     In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of MPD Major Crash Investigations Unit Detectives Michael Millett, Jeffrey Folts, Joseph Diliberto, Sheryl Harley and Michael Miller, as well as Carolyn H. Revercomb, M.D., of the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, William W. McGuirk, Manager of Traffic Safety, Standards and Data Analysis with the D.C. Department of Transportation, and Crash Reconstruction Expert Timothy P. Austin of the Wisconsin State Patrol. U.S. Attorney Machen also commended the efforts of members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Litigation Technology Specialist Tracy Van Atta; Victim Witness Specialist Marcia Rinker; Intelligence Research Specialist Lawrence W. Grasso; Paralegals Fern Rhedrick, Sandra Lane, Phaylyn Hunt, Ethel Noble and Wanda Queen; Clerk, Angela Lawrence, and Legal Assistant Mary Doster. Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen thanked former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Soroka, who indicted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael T. Truscott, Edward A. O’Connell and Robert J. Feitel, who prepared the case for trial and negotiated the plea agreement.





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