PASSAIC, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey bus driver is facing homicide charges after the death of a passenger who was going about his daily routine of picking up the paper and hopping on the bus.
A candlelit memorial on a Passaic street now marks the spot where an accident took the life of 49-year-old postal worker Joseph Currier.
It was last Thursday evening when a Newark-bound 74 bus through Passaic struck and killed Currier at Brook Avenue and Main Street.
The driver, 65-year-old Catherine Collier, was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.
She is accused of running a red light, hitting Currier in the street and then refusing to immediately stop, despite the screams of passengers on board.
“He was literally, we saw the body was…under in the bus and one of my customers tried to help, but it was not possible,” witness Virendra Dave told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Thursday.
Dave runs a convenience store on the corner, where Currier went for years to get his TV Guide, USA Today and Daily News.
“He’s was 49 years old, very quiet, no problem,” Dave said.
Witnesses said Currier got off the bus, walked several feet, then tried to cross in front of the bus just as it was accelerating through the intersection. Whether the driver knew she hit him and kept going or didn’t know at all is still under investigation.
Father Jose Lopez, of St. Nicholas Catholic Church, was Currier’s priest and was called to the scene in time to give Currier his last rites, praying over him as he died in the street.
“My condolences to the family for this terrible accident,” Father Lopez said.
Collier has been a New Jersey transit driver for 25 years. She’s being held on $50,000 bail.
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