CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive video showing the incident that led to an RTA bus driver getting fired.
A police report shows a man complained the bus ran over his leg and he had foot pain. But driver Jo Ackley is speaking out. She says the video actually shows the man claiming to be a victim was to blame.
Ackley said, "I did not do anything wrong. I drive that bus perfect every day. The video is very dramatic. But the bus did not hit that man."
It happened last November on a rainy night near East 105 and Superior in Cleveland. The video shows the man crossing the street, dodging traffic, and walking toward the corner of the bus as it begins to pull away from the curb. A camera looking out the side door shows the man with his hands out perhaps reaching for the bus. Then a camera from the side of the bus shows the man stumbling into the side of the bus as it’s pulling away. The man appears to first make contact against the bus with his backside.
Some passengers yelled out right after that happened. But Ackley says she never heard them. She said, "They were all the way in the back of the bus. I was in the front.”
She added,“I know I didn't hit him. Because I would have felt it on the bus."
Police say the victim didn't want an ambulance, said he didn't want to get anyone in trouble. And police say he admitted he'd been drinking. In fact, police say as they spoke to the man, he went across the street to a liquor store for an “adult beverage."
We left a message for the man involved, but no call back. RTA Police even wrote him a ticket for public intoxication.
As for firing the driver, RTA found the pedestrian was attempting to board, the accident was preventable, and the driver should have stopped when passengers yelled.
Ackley is not having it. She believes RTA targeted her for harsh punishment, in part, because she had raised unrelated safety concerns.
She said, “I just felt I had to speak out especially with our brothers and sisters in the union. This can't go on."
The union for the bus drivers is planning to fight to try to get Jo Ackley’s job back.