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Bus Driver Arrested After Woman Claims She Was Locked Inside Luggage Compartment
The trapped passenger had to call 911 to get rescued from the Boston-bound Peter Pan bus.
A New York bus driver is accused of locking a passenger in the vehicle's luggage compartment on Sunday, August 4, leaving the alleged captive to call police for help as the vehicle continued to make its way toward Boston.
Wendy Helena Alberty, a 49-year-old driver for Peter Pan Buses, was promptly arrested and is facing a slew of charges after police discovered the trapped passenger, PEOPLE reports.
Authorities were made aware of the situation when the passenger, an unnamed woman, called 911 on Sunday at around 4 p.m., claiming that she was in the luggage compartment of a Peter Pan bus, Connecticut State Police said in a statement. Dispatchers were able to locate the bus by tracking the woman’s cellphone; they then pulled the vehicle over in Union, Connecticut, and found the woman, uninjured, in the luggage compartment, and took Alberty into custody after an investigation, police said.
Alberty has been accused of intentionally locking the woman, who was reportedly trying to retrieve items from her bag, in the luggage compartment. Other passengers on the bus claimed that they could hear the woman making noises from below the bus.
“She was locked in there and had called 911. Not only that, people in the front could hear banging for help,” one bus rider, Caroline Van Allen, told CBS Boston.
Alberty was not driving the bus when police caught up with them, according to CBS Boston. She’d driven the first half of the trip from New York to Massachusetts, but had been riding on the bus as a passenger following a stop in Hartford, Connecticut, the outlet reports.
Alberty, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested on charges of first-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree breach of peace, and second-degree reckless endangerment, the Hartford Courant reports. She was released after posting $2,000 bail and is set to appear in court on August 21, according to the outlet.
In a statement obtained by Hartford, Connecticut’s Fox 61, a spokesperson for Peter Pan Bus Lines confirmed that Alberty has been placed on an “investigative suspension” as the company continues to work with police to investigate the incident, which it called their “#1 priority.”
“This Operator has been with Peter Pan Bus Lines since 2012 and she has been an exemplary employee for the company. Over her tenure she has received many customer commendations on her safe driving and customer service,” its statement reads, in part. “In our company's 86 year history we have never had an incident such as this, the safety of our passengers and employees is always our number one priority.”
However, some passengers are unhappy with the company’s handling of the situation, with Van Allen telling CBS Boston that no one ever explained to her or any of the other passengers what actually happened.
“[They] act like nothing happened,” she told the station. “And we go and we go to Boston, no explanation. And when we arrive, not even a welcome to Boston.”