(WSVN) - A bus driver and a passenger got into an argument. A few seconds later, video obtained by 7News shows the driver running him over, so what happened to the woman behind the wheel? The Nightteam’s Patrick Fraser has this exclusive special assignment report: Dangerous Driver.
Here is the quick version: Michael was riding on a county bus. He and the bus driver got into an argument. Seconds later, Michael was lying under the bus.
Michael Polanco, run over by bus: “I was just thinking about my daughter: ‘Oh, my God, I’m not ready to die now.'”
Now, the full story: Michael Polanco was taking Miami-Dade Transit home after a long day working in construction.
He asked the driver, Bridget Hampton, to get off through the front door.
Michael Polanco: “And she said no.”
Bridget Hampton: “That door does not open.”
Michael Polanco: “But, my apartment is right there.”
Within a few seconds, they were hollering at each other.
Michael Polanco: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?”
Bridget Hampton: “Yes, I do, bye, bye. Get off the bus!”
Michael Polanco: “No, I want you to say it.”
Bridget Hampton: “Get off the bus!”
Then, Michael made crude sexual comments to the driver.
Michael Polanco: “Keep your mouth shut and that p**** shut, too.”
Michael got off in the back of the bus and walked around past the driver.
Michael Polanco: “As I was going towards the front, I flicked off the bus driver with the middle finger, and she did the same. She flipped me off.”
Hampton then started cussing at Michael.
Bridget Hampton: “Bitch **** you, **** you. Die bitch. Jesus is going to kill you.”
As you can see, Michael was now at the driver’s window. Hampton turned the steering wheel towards him and hit the pedal.
Michael Polanco: “I had steel-toed boots on. That’s what saved my foot. If not, I would have lost my foot.”
As people rushed to help Michael, the driver stood up.
Bridget Hampton: “He scared me. He scared me.”
Mike Redondo, attorney, Redondo Law Firm: “And she didn’t do anything to try to help him.”
In fact, Hampton never got off the bus.
The 15-ton vehicle crushed Michael’s foot and ankle. His attorney calls it “filleting his leg.”
Mike Redondo: “I’ve seen a lot of videos that are difficult to watch. This is one of the ones that sticks out to me.”
Miami-Dade Police agreed it was intentional.
Bridget Hampton was arrested and charged with second degree attempted murder and assault and battery.
In the meantime, Michael was hospitalized with his medical bills reaching $298,000, but at least he is alive.
Michael Polanco: “Yes, I had a guardian angel that day.”
In a way, Bridget Hampton is also lucky.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office dropped all the charges against her, writing in a close out memo that the victim used aggressive language when he approached the driver, and “the state would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the incident was anything more than an accident…”
Mike Redondo: “It is something that I did find curious. I’ve never met a single person in my life, regardless of how they may have acted, that deserves to be run over by a bus.”
The county also didn’t blame Hampton for running over Michael, refusing to pay his medical bills or compensate him for his damaged leg. Redondo has filed a lawsuit to get that taken care of.
Mike Redondo: “This is a county bus driver who was driving a county bus in a county uniform while on shift, and she ran over my client, and there shouldn’t be any dispute about that.”
But, while the county doesn’t think Hampton did anything wrong, her bosses at Miami-Dade Transit do.
7News obtained her personnel file that shows Hampton was fired in 2016 for profane language towards a passenger and failed to pick up passengers.
The union got her job back.
In 2017, she was fired again. She got her job back.
After she ran over Michael, she was fired for the third time, according to her supervisor, for cussing at the passenger, for not rendering aid to Michael, and, they added, that the accident was preventable.
Mike Redondo: “This person should never be driving a county bus again, that’s for sure.”
We tried to talk to Bridget Hampton. She didn’t respond to us.
Too bad, because Michael said he had a question he wanted us to ask her.
Michael Polanco: “Were you trying to kill him?”
If the county doesn’t settle his lawsuit, Michael might hear Hampton answer the question in a courtroom.
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