April 20, 2014

L.A. Metro bus operator killed in crash

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Olivia Gamboa

A Los Angeles Metro bus operator and SMART TD member was killed early Wednesday, June 12, in a head-on crash with a speeding flatbed tow truck.

Olivia Gamboa, 47, a member of SMART TD Local 1563 at El Monte, Calif., was transported to a hospital in critical condition and later died, Local Treasurer Pedro Lara reports.

According to television station KTLA in Los Angeles, Gamboa was a 13-year Metro veteran and a wife, mother and grandmother. The Los Angeles Times reports Gamboa came from a family of bus operators and that her husband and her daughter were also Metro employees.

The accident happened at S. Broadway and 5th St. at approximately 5:15 a.m. the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The tow truck was headed southbound on Broadway when its driver ran a red light and collided with the bus, witnesses told police officers.

“A citizen estimated the tow truck was driving about 60 miles per hour,” Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Steve Dailey said. “The speed limit for here is about 30 miles per hour.”

The bus was in the intersection when it was hit and knocked down a fire hydrant, sending water high up into the air. The tow truck plowed into a nearby 7-Eleven store.

The driver of the tow truck, 43-year-old Yousef Adhami, remains hospitalized. He has had multiple suspensions and had surrendered his license after his last infraction, KTLA reported.

Gamboa is the first SMART TD member killed while on duty in 2013.

Her tragic death is not the first to be mourned by her fellow members. On May 20 last year, Los Angeles Metro bus operator Alan Thomas was murdered aboard his bus in West Hollywood, Calif., by a lone gunman. Thomas was also a member of Local 1563.

The SMART Transportation Division News will update this story as more details become available.