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Man stuck with expensive repair bill after colliding with Greensboro city bus but no one was found at fault

Bronson Hunter seemed to be in his lane when a city bus passed. When the bus passed, the side mirrors slammed into each other.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The drive home was nothing special. It was dark outside, but the roads were clear and dry.

Bronson Hunter decided to turn on Penry Road, the short, slightly winding road that connects Wendover Road and Huffine Mill Road. Hunter was somewhere near the halfway point of the road when he saw a city bus approaching. “I was in my lane and here comes this bus going pretty fast,” Hunter said.

He was driving his Ram 1500 at the time. When the bus approached from the opposite direction, Hunter didn’t think much about it. When the two vehicles passed Hunter heard a loud pop. Not sure what it was right away he quickly realized the side-view mirror on the bus had struck the side-view mirror on his truck. “It was loud, real loud,” Hunter said. “I thought I was in my lane.”

Both the bus driver and Hunter stopped after the crash. The side mirror on Hunter’s truck was dangling off the truck and the mirror was cracked. Police were called to the scene along with officials from the bus company. Police did not file a report and considered it a civil matter. Hunter provided all the information requested and collected the same from officials with the bus company. The city bus is owned and operated by Keolis. The company investigated the crash but eventually determined that neither driver was to blame. “I know (the bus) was going faster than normal,” Hunter said.

The bus company also had its insurance company investigate the crash and again it was determined that neither driver was at fault. The bus was equipped with cameras that Hunter believes would show he was in his lane. “I wanted to see the video and (they) did not send it to me,” Hunter said.

He told News 2, that both the city and Keolis denied his request to view the video or repair the truck, leaving him stuck to pay a $250 deductible or a lot more out of pocket to get his mirror fixed. “I don’t think it’s fair,” Hunter said.

News 2 reached out to the city in hopes of understanding why the claim was denied. The city later admitted to us it never investigated the crash and allowed Keolis and the insurance company to investigate. “In the context of the types of crashes that we invest time, energy, and money into investigation this did not rise to the same level as a fatality as a pedestrian strike, as a bus strike,” Greensboro Director of Transportation Hanna Cockburn said.

As for the video we requested from the city and Keolis, it took several months but we were eventually sent a thumb drive with the video on it. There are two cameras on the bus that were operating at the time of the crash. One camera shows the driver and her reaction while the other is pointed at the road and shows the front of the bus as well. 

It’s that view where you see Hunter approaching the bus with his lights on. It appears that at one time both the bus and the truck drove by Hunter were in their own lanes. The bus however appears to drift, if just a bit, as it approaches the truck. With the angle of the cameras, it is unclear if the bus was in its lane when the collision occurred but it was certainly closer to the middle yellow lines than it had been a few seconds earlier. It also appears that Hunter was in his lane, within the yellow lines when the two collided. “I think it’s unfortunate and not fair (that) I still have to go through my insurance to get it fixed,” Hunter said.

We again reached out to Keolis looking for answers about the crash and what the video appears to show. Again it took several weeks to reach someone, and we were eventually told it would not be commenting any further on the case. The company did send a previous statement of sorts that said it investigated the crash as per its standard operating procedure and concluded both vehicles remained in their own lane and therefore was deemed a no-fault accident, making each party responsible for the damage to their vehicle.

While the video appears to show the bus driver drifting close to or into the other lane it's not conclusive. It does however raise another concern. If both drivers were deemed to be in their lanes when the crash occurred is the road too narrow?

We then contacted NCDOT about the width of the road and what are the state requirements. NCDOT sent engineers out to the road and determined it was within specification. The road while maybe narrower than some is wide enough per state regulation.

When we measure the width of the road in one section it was 237 inches or 19’ 9”, close to but within the standards set forth by the state. So the question still remains, how did the two vehicles collide if neither were at fault and the road is within state standards. We asked transportation director Cockburn who acknowledged she has not looked at the video.  

“This was not even on my radar,” Cockburn said “Anytime there’s an incident like this it is unfortunate but based on the records I have access to I don’t have anything further to provide comment on.”

News 2 first requested information about this crash one year before we were able to speak with Cockburn. We requested a video of the crash about 10 months before our interview. Several questions surrounding this crash and the investigation still remain but in the end, neither the city nor Keolis is reimbursing Hunter for the damage to his truck.

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