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Councilman says CATS knew about mechanical problem

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BATON ROUGE- Authorities responded to an accident where a CATS bus struck a house Thursday morning, that authorities say could have been caused by mechanical problems. Thursday night, Metro Councilman John Delgado questioned whether that bus should have been on the road at all.

According to Baton Rouge Police, the bus and an SUV collided, causing the bus to propel into a house in the 3300 block of North Boulevard.

Police say the crash was caused "by a possible mechanical malfunction."

"I was laying in the bed and all of sudden I heard a big boom kinda like an explosion," Brown said. "When I got up, I saw a whole bus up on the front lawn. It kinds shook me a little bit.

Witnesses say the bus appeared to be making a u-turn, when it ran head on into a SUV and landed on the front porch of the house.

The driver of the SUV who did not want to be identified, claims the female bus driver caused the accident.

Three people suffered minor injuries in the accident, including the bus driver.

The cause the accident is still under investigation, but Antonette Bryant with the Amalgamated Transit Union that represents bus drivers in Baton Rouge says the bus involved may have had mechanical problems.

"It's also my understanding that this particular bus had been reported as early as yesterday a having some problems. Again that's my understanding. It's not concrete fact, but I have been told as early as yesterday" Bryant said.

Councilman Delgado told News 2, CATS workers told him they knew about a mechanical issue with the bus Wednesday.

"CATS has exposed themselves to a huge liability here because they knew there were mechanical problems with the bus, and they put it out on the road anyway," he says. "Quite honestly, this is a very serious problem."

Amie S. McNaylor, assistant secretary to the CATS board of commissioners, released a statement Thursday afternoon following the crash:

"CATS is investigating the incident that occurred this morning in the 3300 block of North Boulevard. First, our thoughts are with the inured [sic] passengers and operator as well. We are working to have an  independent party conduct a Commercial Driver Inspection inspection [sic] to determine if there are any safety hazards present.  We will continue to work with law enforcement to determine the cause of the accident. As we learn more facts about what occurred, we will provide an update."

CATS refused to release maintenance logs for the bus involved in the crash, saying in an email, it's currently reviewing those and asking us to file an officials record request. News 2 also contacted several members of the CATS board, but phone calls were not returned.

The driver of the bus has not been ticketed.

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