(Photo: Bill Jackson)
Richard Krebs, the man who was involved in a collision with a TriMet bus on SW Morrison and 6th on August 12th, has come forward with his side of the story. He takes issue with several important parts of TriMet’s official statement and says he was under medication from his injuries when he made incriminating statements to the police. TriMet says they stand by their version of what happened, but they acknowledged today that the bus operator did not perform his left turn correctly prior to the crash.
Krebs is a 36 year old medical student completing his third year of clinical clerkships at OHSU. He spent eight days in the hospital following the crash, which included a broken clavicle and several skin grafts on his leg.
“If you were to freeze the bus in the turn he is in the center lane. He moved too far over… that’s a concern for us and that’s what he’s been re-trained on.”
— Josh Collins, TriMet Operations
According to TriMet, Krebs was behind a bus headed northbound on SW 6th (the transit mall) and both were in the left lane (there are three lanes on 6th, one for light rail only, one for bus only, and one for buses, bikes, and cars). As the bus approached SW Morrison, TriMet says the bus operator, 39 year old John Nations, swung wide to the right to execute a left turn to go west onto Morrison. When the bus turned back to the left, its left front wheel came into contact with Krebs, smashing his bike and running over his leg.
On August 31st, TriMet issued a statement saying that Krebs had been issued a citation for running a yellow light and slamming into the bus “at a high rate of speed.”
Krebs told me today that he remembers things a bit differently.
Krebs said he distinctly recalls the bus being to his right prior to the crash. He recalled riding along at about 10-15 mph with the bus in the lane to his right. “I was by myself in left lane, with a car in front of me. The bus was in middle lane the whole time. This is not at all fuzzy. I completely remember it. And I didn’t see any signals.”
Three of the four witnesses in the police report also said the bus was in the center or “bus only” lane as it made the turn. A TriMet bus operator who witnessed the crash told police Krebs was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph.
I spoke with Josh Collins of TriMet Operations today to gain more clarity about the lane question (TriMet has watched the on-board video, but they haven’t released it yet — more on that below).
as per the ODOT Commercial
Driver’s Manual, is “incorrect.”
– Download larger size –
Collins said the bus operator, John Nations, was in the center lane prior to making the left turn. Collins added that Nations began in the left-most lane, but he swung further to the right than they recommend and ended up in the center lane. “If you were to freeze the bus in the turn he is in the center lane. He moved too far over… that’s a concern for us and that’s what he’s been re-trained on.”
The movement Nations made, Collins said, “is closer to a jug handle” type turn, which is contrary to statements made by TriMet communications director Mary Fetsch, who said that Nations made a “button hook” turn. It’s important to note that the ODOT Commercial Driver’s Manual labels jug handle turns as “incorrect” (see graphic at right).
Here’s the police reconstruction drawing that shows where both vehicles came to rest:
Collins also said that Nations had his left blinker on the whole time, but acknowledged that, given the wide swing to the right the bus made prior to the turn, if Krebs didn’t see the blinker, “He could assume the bus is going toward the right.”
“I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine. What I meant to tell the officer is that once the bus was right in front of me it was difficult to stop.”
— Richard Krebs
TriMet’s media statement on August 31st also claimed that Krebs was given a citation in the crash. However, as of today (9/2) there is no record of a citation ever being written to Krebs. When asked to verify the information, TriMet said “Based on what’s written in the police report, it’s our understanding that he will be cited… they [the police] must still be in process.” The police report TriMet refers to was written on August 13th and Police Bureau Traffic Division Sergeant Todd Davis says the citation should have been processed by now. In a subsequent follow-up with TriMet Operations spokesperson Josh Collins informing him that the citation had not yet been issued, he said, “We should have called and verified they’d written and given it to him. It’s our understanding they still will be citing him.”
This is an unfortunate oversight on TriMet’s part because several local media outlets, including us, KGW and The Oregonian all reported that Krebs has been given a citation when in fact he hasn’t.
In the police report taken on 8/13, Officer Kent Scott writes in a section titled, “Conclusion” that Krebs was to be cited for running a yellow light (ORS 811.265 – failure to obey a traffic control device). Officer Scott came to that conclusion in large part because of incriminating statements Krebs made following the crash. Here are some key excerpts from Krebs’ statement in the police report:
“Krebs watched as the car in front of him drove through the yellow phase…”
“Krebs said that the brake on his bike isn’t working that good.”
“Krebs told me he should have stopped and that he felt bad for the driver.”
I asked Krebs to explain the discrepancy between the statements he made to police on August 12th and what he’s saying now. Krebs said that when he gave his statement to the police, just 1-2 hours after the collision, he was still being treated at OHSU and was “completely drugged and in pain”. “In situations like that,” he said, “I tend to blame myself, for the life of me I don’t know why I say things like that.”
What about your brakes?
“I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine. What I meant to tell the officer is that once the bus was right in front of me it was difficult to stop.”
As for whether he ran the yellow light, Krebs says he’s positive the light was green.
“The crosswalk [countdown timer] was on “2”… I was focused on it… Somehow I think the officer made the suggestion it was yellow and I just went along with it.”
The on-board video from the bus would clarify a lot of things, but TriMet has not released it. On August 30th, TriMet said the video, “is currently not releasable at this time because it is material evidence that may be used in court in relation to the citation.” Reached via phone today, TriMet spokesperson Bekki Witt said they can’t release the video because they’re waiting for clearance from the DA. TriMet wouldn’t comment further on any potential court action and they referred me to the DA for questions about a possible criminal investigation (which is the only reason I can think of for the DA having the video).
I’m awaiting a call back from the DA to find out why they’re holding the video.
DA John Copic John Copic, reached in his office this morning (9/3), says he hasn’t yet watched the video, but confirms that it is in their possession. Copic says it’s DA policy to not release any videos “until all potential court appearances are resolved.” Copic is waiting to discuss the matter with Kent Scott, the police officer who responded to the incident and who took the initial statements from Nations and Krebs.
Krebs says that when he asked TriMet to see the video (at the urging of his insurance company) a representative for TriMet told him the video is “damaging to their case”. “They said the bus operator improperly executed the left turn and the video showed he turned right in front of me.” Krebs’ insurance agent has now requested the video.
Krebs has plenty of time to think about the crash and figure out all the details of how it happened. He’s still bed-ridden from his injuries and doctors tell him it could be several weeks before he’ll be able to walk normally again.
– Browse our previous coverage of this story here.
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Sounds like both the bicyclist and the driver made a bad decision, the combination of which resulted in this “incident”.
Well, that pretty much is exactly as I was guessing. Bus moved right, Krebs assumed bus was making a right turn, and either didn’t see or believe the turn signal on the bus because it was contrary to the bus’s motion.
The bus driver slowed down to make the turn allowing Krebs to get beside him. Then bus then turned across a lane of traffic, didn’t see Krebs, and hit Krebs with his front tire. Seems pretty cut and dry the fault of the bus driver.
“running a yellow light”
I was under the impression that as long as you enter the intersection (defined by the limit line or the first line of the crosswalk) while the light is yellow then you are okay. We’ve all heard of running a red light but I’ve never heard of runnig a yellow light.
Confused in the Pearl.
WOW! Good reporting.
The police pulled me and my partner over on SE Hawthorne about a year ago when we entered the intersection at 39th on a yellow light (on bikes). No ticket, just informing us it is illegal and that the police were concerned for our safety.
So the bus was really making the left turn from the center lane- enough over that a car got past that was ahead of Krebs. That’s egregiously bad driving from the bus operator if that’s true. Release the darn video already.
Barney #3 – The entire area lost it’s mind here a few years ago, and changed the laws relevant to yellow lights. Now it’s one of these, “They’re a Jew if I say they are a Jew.”, deals now. Ain’t safety grand!!
Okay after a very small amount of research I have found the following:
Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices:
(3) Steady circular yellow signal. A driver facing a steady circular yellow signal light is thereby warned that the related right of way is being terminated and that a red or flashing red light will be shown immediately. A driver facing the light shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.
Sooooo, it appears to me that this is a judgement call on the part of the vehicle operator. If you can’t stop by the stop line, then you may continue through the intersection. Since bikes often move slower than motorized vehicles, this lag time may have contributed to the accident. A citiation couldn’t then be issued without a law enforcement officer actually witnessing the supposed infraction. The video from the bus will probably settle the issue. Pardon me for assuming that the video may well clear the cyclist here and that is why it is being with-held.
Vance: I agree that sanity is a rare commodity these days in PDX as well as in other places!
Yep – good reporting.
To all the bike-haters, apology accepted. Don’t be so quick to blame the victim next time. Instead, try a little skepticism of the official story.
I think it’s getting to the point where we need to have lawyers present with pedestrians and cyclists who’ve been hit _after_ the event to protect them from police looking to draw out false confessions. False confessions are way too common — when someone is in a position of authority, they can get even a non-drugged user to say (or do) just about anything.
The self-blame, the suggestion from police that the victim was really to blame — it’s like a typical rape case from 50 years ago. The victim is essentially still in shock, and all the authorities are in CYA mode.
I hope the DA’s office and Mayor’s office get some phone calls from Portland cyclists who are tired of this type of reckless driver behavior.
Now is a good time to start talking about some ‘strict liability’ laws. New York has some fun laws — where is Oregon?
now that was an attention grabbing story! I couldn’t stop reading, as much as the wife was trying to get my attention (or so she says)…
a sad ending for both parties but justice will be done…
The turn Mr. Collins refers to is commonly called a ‘button hook’. It is a turn Trimet Operators are
specifically trained for and MUST use at certain intersections such as 6th and Morrison in order to safely navigate the Bus around corners.
No offense intended towards Mr. Krebs but for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal. Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall. Mr. Krebs is also responsible for the pain and suffering of the Operator and should and hopefully will be sued.
“Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall”
Well that’s all fine and dandy for you to say, but bicyclists are specifically invited to use the “multi-modal lane”, there are small portions of actual bike lanes on the uphill portions of the mall on 5th, and bicyclists were represented during the transit mall planning process.
So please forgive those cyclists who just happen to, you know, as a matter of official policy, feel like they might want to take a ride on the mall.
I want to see the video (and all other available evidence) before judging any fault here, but I’m concerned that the shuttle route _contributed_ to the risk in this accident. TriMet’s safety review process have been elimination left turns in crowded areas from a number of routes, but this temporary shuttle route (coupled with the presence of a parked train on Morrison) seems to have created the necessity of a very wide left turn for the bus which probably would not have happened otherwise.
“elimination” = “eliminating”. Sorry for the typo.
This situation made me think of the following essay by Bruce Mol:
The Social and Emotional Aspects of Transportation Cycling
Interesting discussion of cyclist and motorist behavior.
Get well soon, Mr. Krebs.
A medical resident or fellow is a physician, not a medical student.
ten to fifteen a high rate of speed
rich chodron #11:
No offense intended towards Mr. Krebs but for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal. Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall.
I’ve ridden the bus mall every Monday-Friday since the remodel was completed, if you ride your bike as if it was a car (center of the lane, no passing on the left or right, no moving into the bus/MAX-only lane) then it’s 100% safe. I’ve never even had a close call. I’d say the bus mall is safer than SW Broadway (w/ the hotel zone and the dooring potential).
Great update. Things are becoming more clear in this case but, at the same time, not.
We need the video.
“… Collins said the bus operator, John Nations, was in the center lane prior to making the left turn. Collins added that Nations began in the left-most lane, but he swung further to the right than they recommend and ended up in the center lane. …”maus/bikeportland
At what point in the block, was the operator’s bus last in the left lane prior to making the left turn? I’m trying to figure out the first point in the block where Krebs on his bike, and a car ahead of him could be in the left lane, if the bus was there before swinging to the right in preparation to swinging again left to make his left turn onto Morrison.
“… As for whether he ran the yellow light, Krebs says he’s positive the light was green.
“The crosswalk [countdown timer] was on “2”… I was focused on it… Somehow I think the officer made the suggestion it was yellow and I just went along with it.” …”maus/bikeportland
At what point in the block or the intersection was Krebs at when he saw the crosswalk countdown timer on “2”? Reading what Krebs says, it occurs to me that I’m not certain how the crosswalk signals work together with the overhead traffic lights.
I assumed that at least part of the crosswalk countdown cycle ran simultaneously with the yellow caution lights of the overhead traffic lights. In other words, a road user or pedestrian seeing a ‘2’ on the crosswalk light would mean vehicle operators in travel lanes would be seeing the last seconds of the yellow caution light, rather than a green light. Maybe this isn’t the way they work. Should be easy to confirm one way or another.
Hey,Peter Smith, Here is your chance to shart out some of you logic. Consider this a preemptive foot in you arse!!!!!!
To refute something means to disprove it. As compelling as it is, Mr Krebs’ account contradicts (repudiates, disputes, challenges or denies) that of Tri-Met, but it doesn’t refute or disprove it.
thanks for that insight voline. i think i’ll swap “refute” with “contradicts”. i like that word better anyways. -Jonathan
I know I should ignore you since you are obviously trying to inflame feelings, so I’ll just say this:
The bus did a “Jug Handle” turn, not a “Button Hook.” Jug Handles are never recommended, and if the bus HAD done a button hook it would never have swerved right and never have hit Krebs.
As for sueing Krebs for being hit by a bus and causing the bus driver pain and suffering – I think that flame bait can go without being bitten.
Thank God the blame was shifted towards the bus. Now we can all sleep at night!!
in my experience, the light turns yellow after the countdown has reached 0.
Damn good piece of investigative work Jonathan!
However, I personally stand by my statement made on your previous entry.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists ultimately are responsible for their own safety and must exercise extra vigilance when riding in hazardous areas.
This bicyclist obviously did not do that.
Button hook jug hook, whatever, a turn is a turn.
I hope the bicyclist recovers completely and quickly for his injuries.
Tony and wsbob,
Right Tony, lights turn yellow after the countdown reaches zero. I’ve seen most lights change immediately after, while some turn yellow several seconds after zero (e.g., NE Knott @ NE 15th). I’ve never seen one that turns yellow before the counter reaches zero. It would make no sense to engineer it that way.
thanks for the compliment.
i have to say though, the rest of your comment is a bit strange. yes, of course people biking and walking need to be responsible… but aren’t you forgetting something… like perhaps people operating very large vehicles that can easily kill and maim with just the slightest lack of attention also need to be responsible?
Mr. Nations, the bus driver in this case, told the police he was “focused on the people on the corner” and he did not see Mr. Krebs at all. in fact, Mr. Nations had Mr. Krebs under his wheel and he got out of his bus, only to be hounded by bystanders to get back in his bus and put it in reverse to get off Krebs’ body. … which thankfully he did right away.
yes… “a turn is a turn”… but turns by massive, multi-ton vehicles can seriously injure and kill people. please don’t forget that.
thanks for the comment. it’s good to know you’re still around.
Jonathan, could us cyclists use extra caution while riding downtown? Could you imagine how difficult it is driving a “large vehicle”? I wish you would stop laying so much blame on the people who’s job it is to navigate these multi ton vehicles around town. We should all give them extra room assuming they don’t see us. It seems common sense to me but then again, this is your blog.
please point out where I’m “laying so much blame” on bus operators. I have not done that. I am just pointing out something that I felt Mr. Al M — who operates a TriMet bus for a living — was not including in his comment.
I absolutely agree with you that people on bikes and on foot need to be extra-super-hyper careful when a bus is present near them.
thanks for your comment.
Why do things like this keep happening? Don’t TriMet buses have mirrors to prevent this? Aren’t cyclists educated on how traffic-lights work and how NOT to overtake a giant vehicle?
IMO both parties were at fault and I’m not sure who should take more blame.
In some countries (Netherlands, Denmark, maybe more), the larger vehicle is legally at fault in any collision unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise. I wish we had such a law.
Jonathan, Thank you for reporting more of the facts and letting Rick tell his side of the story. It is about time trimet came clean. They should have clarified this much sooner to save us all some grief.
A purpose of bikeportland’s close call database is to highlight locations which create close call situations. I think it would be useful to try to search that database for references to bicycles moving around Tri-Met buses, particularly on the left side of the bus. It might help to show a pattern of bus driver mis-behavior. Mr. Krebs could use that in his possible lawsuit against Tri-Met. Or, as has been suggested above, if Tri-Met or the bus driver were to sue Mr. Krebs, he could use that pattern of mis-behavior in his defense.
My left-side-of-the-bus close call was at Capitol and Terwilliger. Bus and I were both eastbound on Capitol. This was before Jonathan initiated the close call reporting tool. Here’s a quote from that posting:
“I was the first vehicle at the red light. The bus pulled up to the stop after the light turned red. So, the bus was behind me on my right.
The light turned green. I started to go. Then I could not help but notice an enormous bus coming up on my right, about to cut me off. So, I stopped, mid-intersection. Having no choice in the matter, I allowed the bus to pass. Only _after_ the bus got in front of me did I see the yield sign blinking.
Buses with their yield signs blinking are entitled to the right of way. However, I have to be able to see that yield sign in order to know to yield to it. Since I was unable to see the blinking yield sign, I should not have had to yield to the bus. The bus driver should have waited for me.”
In the google-maps based close call database, I found another close call at the same location that sounds similar to what happened to me. That close call happened at 6/24/10 at 7:58AM. I asked the close call tool for a spreadsheet for everything from 1/1/2000 and that incident was referenced with Id 623. Searching that database for “bus”, “Tri-Met”, or similar strings might yield more left-side-of-bus incidents. If I get a chance I might do that search myself.
Jonathan, whoever does that search, are the Id numbers unique? That is, for example, if I ask for a spreadsheet for just the last 3 months, and someone asks for a spreadsheet for the last 3 years, will an incident show up in both spreadsheets with the same Id?
As a bus operator I would say most cyclist have gotten the word on the bus mall and stay well clear of the bus lane and the train tracks.
The type of turn that was used by the bus operator does send mixed messages to the followers. That is why it is important to watch signals and lights.
The operator may have selected that turn because if you turn the way they want you to turn you come very close to the pedestrians on your left standing on the corner. Many drivers just want more space between them and the pedestrians.
I wish the injured cyclist a speed recovery. That has got to be painful.
#25: “Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists ultimately are responsible for their own safety and must exercise extra vigilance when riding in hazardous areas.”
What a world it would be if vigilance and caution guaranteed safety. Having said that, how many of us can state unequivocally that our actions while riding are beyond reproach? That if, God forbid, we were involved in a collision, we could say, “I did everything humanly possible to avoid this”? A little food for thought.
Yes – Tri-Met busses have mirrors to help the driver see the area surrounding his bus and prevent accidents.
No – cyclists are not trained at all. They know how to stay upright and may have some knowledge of roadway law from the driver’s ed and auto licensing training but there is no formal training or certification for bike riders.
I’ve stated time and again that this is going to lead to trouble. The more we encourage people to give up cars and switch to bikes then the more unskilled and uneducated roadway users we put into contact with auto traffic. This goes beyond the scofflaw rider who willfully flaunts the law. Too often, I see riders trying to make left turns across multiple lanes from a bike lane, riding against the flow of traffic, or passing on the left because they assume that is proper, legal, and that drivers will yield to them.
It is time that we require cyclists to roll down to the DMV, take a written test, and earn a “V” (for velo) class endorsement on their license. I know that will arouse some ire here but with more conventional bikes and a wave of e-bikes coming, it seems a practical thing to do in the name of safety.
I’m with cyclist #11: I love riding on the transit mall…it’s the widest bike lane in the City.
This is a well written piece. Not putting blame on either party but stating what happened. Well done!
IMO…bus should always check their blind spot (hence why 2 mirrors). This is just another case of Tri-Met being the bigger guy with more money. They should do the right thing and own up to the fact that they made an error.
“i have to say though, the rest of your comment is a bit strange.”
Jonathan, The “blame game” is most likely a draw, as was stated at the very start of this incident. They were both guilty, equally inattentive.
And I have my own theories about Bus operators working hours and hours of overtime and how that reduces attentiveness.
However, a closer abstract look into this sort of incident should in all reality find the CITY OF PORTLAND guilty in promoting and building a extremely flawed design which mixes far too many types of vehicle traffic in a far too dense an area.
Trains, buses, pedestrians,and auto’s, all packed into this “multi-modal” design is a design for disaster.
We are talking about human beings, and when you have human beings operating vehicles in a densely packed area such as the transit mall you know for sure there will be human error.
This design, and I have heard you say this yourself Jonathan, is a recipe for disaster.
(The blogger known as “Al M” does not now, nor has he ever, represented Trimet, Trimet bus drivers, or ATU 757.
The thoughts, opinions, ideas, and body odor are of myself; they do not reflect the thoughts, opinions, ideas, and/or body odor of my company, my friends, my neighbors, my fish, my roses, my dog, or my trash. All rights reserved, all lefts reserved.)
All I can say is this is exactly why I do not try to pass buses, nor do I ride alongside them in any way.
They’re simply too long, making escape should a dangerous circumstance arise entirely too difficult to evade. What if something/someone falls/runs in front of the bus and it HAS to maneuver to avoid it?
I’ve never had any trouble keeping myself from riding next to buses personally. Hard to understand why people do it.
The kind of reporting and follow up is what I like about this blog. It is likely very difficult for Jonathan to answer all opinions, but when other facts or questions are presented it seems he is more than capable of following up. Just like Trail Abuser in #4 said I add, Great Reporting. it is this detail that keeps me coming back because finding the truth of a situation can help to keep us all from repeating the mistakes made by both operators involved in this crash. Thank you Jonathan for brining your excellent fact gathering to us the public!
Brake or brakes? The story says:
“What about your brakes?
“I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine.”
Did the bike have a single brake like a fixie or two caliper brakes?
It is good to hear both sides of this story. -Jon
I dont know who was right or wrong in this situation, the video would answer all questions, but when a bus clobbered my mom on my wedding day 25 years ago, even back then, tri-met was evasive and tried to wiggle out of it. Tri-met needs to be held accountable.
While it sounds to me like both were at fault, the biker can’t have things both ways; he can’t claim to have been drugged up AND remember, now, every detail in complete clarity. Even when not medicated, crash victims (and witnesses) are notoriously bad at remembering details, as sure as they may think they are.
The video will be a help but may not answer all questions.
Yep, the id’s in the close calls database are unique. Neat use of the reporting tool! You might want to check the “limit search to map view box” before downloading the Excel file to ignore reports outside the region. Let me know if you have other questions. -Joe
“was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph.”
10 mph is not a high rate of speed.
“for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal.”
Then I guess you consider the design of the entire city of Portland to be idiotic. Have you noticed we have bike lanes to the left of the bus stops, so that buses must drive through them to get to their stops? I am regularly this close to buses, since they often don’t seem to worried about pulling in front of me or driving with the tires on the line dividing our lanes. I hate it and I try to avoid it, but it happens.
In the course of a lawsuit over a traffic accident, I was told NEVER to estimate speed or distance because people are notoriously bad at that, and as soon as you guess something, it becomes “fact”.
I’m glad Mr. Krebs is going to be OK. It sounded pretty bad at first.
I’d like to add my appreciation for your careful and impressive reporting. Thanks!
Brad @ 37
“It is time that we require cyclists to roll down to the DMV, take a written test, and earn a “V” (for velo) class endorsement on their license.”
While I am all for better training for all road users, I don’t think piggybacking onto the DMV-license is promising. Fewer folks are getting licenses from the DMV anymore, and from discussions here my sense is that the DMV isn’t the right address for *drivers* to learn about how to operate in the presence of bikes. Until the details/procedures/dangers of car/bike interactions are understood and spelled out better for drivers I don’t think sending cyclists to that address is going to be very fruitful. But someday we may have a better system that instructs all traffic participants more comprehensively.
peejay @ 32
“In some countries (Netherlands, Denmark, maybe more), the larger vehicle is legally at fault in any collision unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise.”
can you give an example? Provide some details?
I’ll believe Trimet’s version of what happened when they release the video. Until then, I think their story smells.