The driver of a Cobb County transit bus involved in a deadly collision with an electric scooter rider in Midtown last week will not face criminal charges, police said Thursday.
William Alexander, 37, was taking a Bird scooter home from the Atlanta United game July 17 when he was run over by the CobbLinc bus near the Arts Center MARTA station and became trapped underneath. He died before firefighters could free him.
Initially, Atlanta police could not say with certainty that Alexander was hit by the bus while riding the scooter. Surveillance footage from the MARTA station did not show the moment of impact.
After viewing additional footage and interviewing witnesses, investigators determined the driver of the bus was not at fault, police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said.
“The investigation has concluded that the scooter rider, Mr. William Alexander, was traveling by the Cobb County transit bus when he fell off the scooter and under the right rear tires of the bus, where he suffered fatal injuries,” Chafee said in a statement.
According to an incident report released Thursday, the bus was stopped at the light at the intersection of West Peachtree and 15th streets. When the light turned green, the driver began to turn right onto 15th.
Alexander reportedly left the sidewalk on West Peachtree Street and entered the road, speeding up as the bus made its turn. He ran into the side of the bus when he became squeezed between it and construction barriers at the corner, police said in the report.
The crash is believed to be the second deadly accident involving electric scooters in the city of Atlanta. It comes weeks after police ended a grace period for riders and started enforcing city code, which mandates that scooters be ridden in the street with other traffic, not on sidewalks.
The first on May 17 also happened near a MARTA station. A man on a Lime scooter was hit and killed while leaving the parking lot of the West Lake station in west Atlanta. The driver of a Cadillac SUV is facing charges in that crash.
The latest death has sparked responses from city officials and concerned Atlanta residents alike. On Wednesday, about 55 protesters turned out to create a 240-foot “human-protected sidewalk” to call attention to the city’s lack of infrastructure for bicyclists and scooter riders.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: Which metro Atlanta cities have banned e-scooters?
In a written statement, Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi said last week more could be done to accommodate cyclists, scooters and pedestrians on the city’s streets.
“When someone dies on our roads, it, in part, represents a failure of design,” he said. “It does not matter whether you are walking to lunch, biking to see a friend, scooting home, or driving to the grocery store, you should be safe as you move around the city.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order on Thursday prohibiting the city’s planning department from issuing additional permits to companies that operate electronic scooters. The order does not apply to the nine companies that already obtained permits from the city.
Bottoms said in a statement Atlanta has worked with private sector companies in good faith rather than ban the popular devices, but she acknowledged that “this complex issue requires a more thorough and robust dialogue.”
She intends to introduce legislation at a city council meeting Aug. 5 to address the issue, a spokesman for the mayor’s office said.
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