A bus driver who allegedly locked a woman in the luggage compartment of a bus traveling from New York to Boston this summer has been cleared of the charges against her.
Wendy Helena Alberty, 49, was initially arrested and charged with second-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree breach of peace and second-degree reckless endangerment related to the bizarre Aug. 4 incident. However, this week, Connecticut prosecutors dropped the charges against the Brooklyn woman, according to the Hartford Courant. She had been released earlier this summer after posting a $2,000 bail.
State police, who pulled the bus over on Interstate 84 near the Massachusetts state line roughly an hour after the woman locked in the luggage compartment phoned 911, have also since released audio of the woman’s conversation with emergency dispatchers.
“I have no battery left, I’m not okay, the bus driver locked me underneath the bus — a Peter Pan bus — going en route to Boston,” the passenger told the dispatcher, who was flummoxed by the situation.
“She locked you under the bus?” the dispatcher stated, perplexed.
“She locked me under the bus with the luggage,” the passenger responded back. “I’m under the bus with the luggage and I’m afraid. I need help. Nobody knows where I am.”
But Alberty’s lawyer, Nate Baber was adamant his client had no idea how the passenger became entrapped in the bus’ undercarriage.
“The passenger got in the luggage compartment on her own without help from anyone else and certainly without the help of my client,” Baber said, the Courant reported.
Alberty apparently hadn’t been driving at the time troopers pulled the bus over on the interstate, according to CBS Boston. She had driven a previous stretch of the journey but had reportedly been riding as a passenger at the time of the alleged incident.
“She was as stunned as anyone else when the troopers pulled the bus over and revealed that there was a passenger in the luggage compartment,” he added. “She and every other person on that bus was equally surprised."
However, fellow passengers claimed they could hear banging coming from beneath their feet as the bus rolled down the highway.
“She was locked in there and had called 911,” Caroline Van Allen told CBS Boston at the time. “Not only that, people in the front could hear banging for help."
When authorities cracked open the luggage compartment, the woman was supposedly so deep within it, they initially couldn’t see her, ABC News reported. When she later emerged, she had a laptop and a pair of conga drums in hand. She allegedly refused medical attention.
Peter Pan officials said they had internally investigated the incident, and referred to Alberty as “an exemplary employee,” according to the Courant. The bus driver has reportedly worked for the company since 2012.
“In our company's 86-year history we have never had an incident such as this,” a statement from the bus company obtained by Fox 61 read. “Over her tenure she has received many customer commendations on her safe driving and customer service.”
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