Union Says Charges Against Bus Driver Are Not Warranted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teenage girl was struck by a bus while crossing the street in Brooklyn early Friday, and there were worries that she could lose her leg.

Jiahuan Xu, 15, was on her way to school when an Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus smashed into her around 8:45 Friday morning in Williamsburg. Xu said the wheel pinned her left leg for at least 15 minutes.

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The girl’s father, Jingxiang Xu, could barely get through his words as he described the incident to CBS2’s Weijia Jiang.

“She grabbed my hand and said, ‘Dad, I feel pieces of my ripped up leg,'” he recalled.

Jiahuan Xu, 15, was on her way to school when an MTA bus smashed into her around 8:45 Friday morning. Xu said the wheel pinned her left leg for at least 15 minutes.

“Oh my God, I feel so bad. It’s my sister. I can’t imagine how hurt she is,” said Jiahuan’s brother, Hao Zhang.

Police say the teen had the right of way in a crosswalk on Grand Street and Union Ave in Williamsburg. They charged the driver, 58-year-old Francisco De Jesus of Queens, with failure to yield, and failure to exercise due care.

The bus drivers’ union did not deny that De Jesus made a mistake, but said he should not be punished for it.

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“It’s an accident. It’s not a crime,” said Transport Workers Union Local 100 vice president JP Patafio.

Jiang told Patafio that any other driver would have been ticketed for the accident, and asked why bus drivers should not be held to the same standard.

“The law exempts city workers,” Patafio replied. “We are city workers.”

Failing to yield became a misdemeanor in 2014, under Mayor De Blasio’s Vision Zero plan.

The union said drivers should be exempt from criminal charges related to driving. But the MTA backs the new rules, and so does Xu’s family.

“My little girl did nothing wrong, and now she’s scared to death,” Jingxiang Xu said.

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Jiahuan Xu late Friday was in the intensive care unit after undergoing surgery – one of many procedures to come. Her family said they hope they won’t have to amputate her leg.