NJ bus driver who killed baby works for MTA

The bus driver accused of losing control while he was on the phone, causing him to crash into a light pole that fell and killed a baby girl in New Jersey is also a full-time bus operator for the MTA in New York City, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, confirmed on Friday that Idowu Daramola, 48, is a probationary bus operator who had been reporting to an NYC Transit depot on 100th Street and Lexington Avenue. All MTA bus drivers are probationary for their first year of service.

“We are taking steps to terminate him,” Ortiz said of Daramola. “Since he was a probationary employee, it will not be a lengthy process.”

Daramola had been working as an MTA bus operator since he was appointed to the position in February of this year. The MTA could not immediately say what route he was driving, or what type of bus.

Daramola was driving a jitney bus in West New York on Tuesday when, according to the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, he was using his phone behind the wheel and hit a light pole.

The pole crashed down on top of a baby stroller, killing 8-month-old Angelie Paredes.

Daramola, of Queens, was arraigned Thursday on charges of reckless driving, using a cell phone while operating a vehicle and death by auto. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment.  He was jailed on $250,000 bail.

Daramola had open warrants for traffic charges for which he failed to appear in court, according to authorities. The outstanding warrants were for speeding, improperly letting off passengers and failing to stop at a stop sign in 2011, and a red-light camera violation last year.

His commercial driver license was issued by New York.

Deisy Bello, the court administrator for West New York, said New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission automatically suspended his license and driving privileges when he failed to appear in court on one of his violations. New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles should also have received notice.

“After 9/11, there was an interstate compact that says the DMV in New Jersey is supposed to contact other states and other states are supposed to contact us,” said Bello.

Despite the reciprocal agreement, New York’s DMV did not get notice that Daramola had run afoul of the law in New Jersey.

“Mr. Daramola has a full and valid NYS commercial driver license,” said Peter Bucci, a spokesman for the New York State DMV. “There are no accidents or violations on his public driving record.”

Ortiz, at the MTA, said a background check and motor vehicle record search “turned up no problems.” Daramola, he said, would not have been hired if the agency had learned of the violations.

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