GRTC bus driver charged with reckless driving - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

GRTC bus driver charged with reckless driving

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Reckless driving, that's the charge filed against the GRTC bus driver involved in a deadly accident earlier this week.

The Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's office is withholding the driver's name until she surrenders to authorities.

Two days after a deadly accident that claimed 55 year old Loucendia Lambert's life, the GRTC bus driver who police say ran over Lambert is charged with reckless driving, a class one misdemeanor.

The prosecutor says the bus driver failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to yield to a pedestrian.

Why not involuntary manslaughter? We asked our legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

"It's important to bear in mind that the tragedy is not what prosecutors and police use to gage the charge that's appropriate," said Benjamin.

Richmond prosecutor Colette McEachin says based on the evidence, legal factors did not point to a greater criminal culpability.

"Reckless driving if that's all it is and the conduct is not so dangerous that death is likely well that's reckless driving," said Benjamin.

But McEachin says the charge could change once the driver's toxicology results come back.

Lambert was crossing 14th Street on her way to work at the state health department when she was killed Wednesday morning.

We returned to the scene Friday to see if driver and pedestrian behavior had changed. In a matter of minutes, during the evening rush, our camera caught several red light runners. No surprise to the people stepping onto the pavement to cross the street.

"They don't see they don't pay attention and people don't stop," said Lynn Abraham who works in one of the nearby state buildings.

"People are on cell phones have their Ipods in and not quite hearing things," said another state worker Jennifer Nimmo.

Capitol police have stepped up their presence and since Wednesday's accident, have written six tickets to four drivers for running red lights and failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks.

"You can step it up but people are going to try to protect themselves now anyway they can I think including to jaywalk," said Nancy Campbell who also works nearby.

Reckless driving carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and $2500 fine.

The driver has hired an attorney. McEachin says the driver's court date will depend on when she turns herself in, which she hopes will be in the next few days.

Our call to GRTC was not returned.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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