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Rider Warned Megabus About Distracted Driving Earlier This Summer

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Jeannie Walton rode a Megabus earlier this summer and says he driver, a trainee, was distracted by her iPod. (CBS)

Jeannie Walton rode a Megabus earlier this summer and says he driver, a trainee, was distracted by her iPod. (CBS)

Pam Zekman Pam Zekman
Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Pam Zekman serves on CBS 2 Chicago’s...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Thursday’s fatal crash of a Megabus in downstate Illinois saddened one customer — but did not surprise her.

Jeannie Walton of southwest suburban New Lenox told CBS 2’s Pam Zekman about a harrowing bus ride she took this summer with a Megabus trainee who was driving distracted.

“She took her ear phones out that were tangled and she tried to untangle them,” Walton said in a Skype interview. “Then she got her I phone out and she said, ‘I have to have my music.’”

The driver took her eyes off the road and took a hand off the wheel, she says.

Walton took a photograph of the driver’s trainer, who was sleeping, and woke him up to complain.

“He looked at me and the trainer said, ‘She’s fine,’” Walton said.

“It was horribly frightening,” she said of the experience. “I had my girlfriend’s child and my child on there. There were senior citizens on there.”

In a statement about the fatal crash between Springfield and St. Louis, Megabus says it takes customer safety seriously.

“Safety remains our number one priority,” the company said in a statement.

Megabus has a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. But in the past two years, Chicago Megabus has had six crashes with at least four injuries.

New Jersey Megabus had seven crashes. That includes one wreck that killed four passengers after a bus slammed into a bridge near Syracuse, N.Y.

Walton says she repeatedly called Megabus to report her experience.

“In my final message, I said to them, ‘If you aren’t going to deal with me and this situation, I’m calling Pam Zekman.’ And here we are.”

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