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MTA Bus Driver Who Killed Woman in Manhattan Has License Revoked, Is Fined $750

1:38 PM EDT on August 18, 2017

Scene of the crash that killed Bella Krementsova. Video still: WNBC

The MTA bus driver who killed Bella Krementsova as she crossed a Lower Manhattan street last year has pled guilty to violating her right of way.

Roger Weckworth hit Krementsova with a QM7 bus on Water Street at Whitehall Street, near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, during the early evening hours of October 21, 2016, and dragged her almost half a mile before witnesses got him to stop.

Bella Krementsova
Bella Krementsova
Bella Krementsova

From WNBC:

Witness Benjamin Layton said people on the street screamed for the driver to stop.

"People jumped off the bus, even the driver jumped off the bus, and they looked 'cause they heard something dragging," he said. "They looked under there and there was something under there."

"It looked like a bunch of clothes got caught up in the wheel, caught up under the axle of the bus," said Layton.

Describing Krementsova, 58, as “a caring person and a role model to many young women,” the Daily News said she lived on the Upper West Side and worked as an interpreter.

“She gave our daughters advice about how to do good in school, get to college, make a career,” a neighbor of Krementsova’s told the News. “She was a very lovable lady. She was always there to help anyone in need.”

Weckworth, then 63, was charged with a misdemeanor under the city’s Right of Way Law, as well as failure to exercise due care, which is a traffic infraction. According to court records, on Wednesday he pled guilty to both charges. He was fined $750, plus $88 in fees, and his license was revoked.

Under state DMV rules, a driver whose license is revoked may petition to have his driving privileges reinstated after a prescribed period of time, which can be as brief as 30 days.

The Right of Way Law, one of several bills adopted in 2014 to reduce traffic fatalities as part of the city's Vision Zero initiative, made it a misdemeanor to kill people who are walking and biking with the right of way. Transport Workers Union Local 100, the bus drivers' union, spent much of the next year lobbying to make them exempt from the law.

According to crash data tracked by Streetsblog, MTA bus drivers killed 14 people walking and biking from August 2014, when the Right of Way Law took effect, through the end of 2015. Those numbers since have fallen sharply. Bus drivers are known to have killed three people -- Anna Colon, Kevin Zeng, and Bella Krementsova -- from January 2016 through July 2017.

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