AUSTIN (KXAN) — The identity of a cyclist who was hit and killed by a CapMetro bus Monday night on the University of Texas campus has been revealed.
The crash took place at about 10:30 p.m. just south of 23rd Street on San Jacinto Blvd. The bus and cyclist were both headed in the same direction when the crash occurred, according to University of Texas Police Chief David Carter. The victim, 39-year-old Austinite Anthony John Diaz, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In an interview with KXAN, Caitlin Mitchell, a passenger who was aboard the bus painted a chilling picture of chaos and panic. Eight people were on the bus at the time of the wreck.
Mitchell said she rides the bus every day and that she usually recognizes the bus drivers on her route. But on Monday night, she claims she didn’t know the woman behind the wheel.
“She was drunk or she was crazy or something. She was not normal. I could feel it the whole time I was on the bus,” Mitchell said. “She was all over the place. One second she’d be 34 miles per hour, then 17 miles per hour, then 21 miles per hour. There was nothing steadfast about it.”
CapMetro officials wouldn’t reveal the bus driver’s identity or how long she’d been employed there but they did say she was tested for drugs and alcohol immediately after the crash as is standard procedure. The results of those tests are not yet available. Chief Carter told KXAN the driver was cooperating with police on investigations.
In a statement to the press Monday morning, CapMetro officials wrote:
“Capital Metro does not speculate on the causes of crashes or incidents. Our protocol is to work with our service providers on conducting an internal investigation, and we are cooperating fully with UTPD and APD in their investigation. The Capital Metro family extends our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the deceased.”
Mitchell told KXAN she was seated near the front of the bus and had noticed the driver behaving strangely and talking to herself.
The passengers noticed when the driver allegedly sped towards Diaz, Mitchell said. “We kept screaming no, stop, lady! Stop, lady! And she just ran him over.”
Mitchell says chaos and panic ensued as passengers sitting in the back of the bus flew out of their seats. “Someone said ‘call the cops,’ so I called the cops and I got off the bus and I was talking to the cops and I looked under the bus and there was the dead body,” Mitchell said.
In a statement to KXAN Cap Metro CEORandy Clarke said, “On behalf of the entire Cap Metro family, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Diaz during this difficult time. We will continue our internal investigation of the accident and are working cooperatively with law enforcement officials. As a cyclist, I feel very strongly about the importance of safety for cyclists and all roadway users. The 1,800 men and women of CapMetro consider safety our number one value and are committed to operating your community’s public transportation system in a safe and courteous manner.”
KXAN has requested the dashcam footage from this crash.