Graham Kilmer
MKE County

‘Enough is Enough’ Crowley Says, After 100 MPH Driver Smashes Into Bus

Following deadly crash, county officials call for community responsibility, more tools and funding to address reckless driving.

By - Apr 19th, 2024 08:50 pm

MCTS bus hit by reckless driver at 35th and Capitol. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

After a reckless driver going 100 miles per hour smashed into the side of a Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus, county officials are calling on the community to drive safer, and the state to give the county the tools to go after dangerous drivers.

“But I am here to really provide one simple message, and that is enough is enough,” County Executive David Crowley said. “We know that reckless driving has reached crisis levels. We’ve had mothers, daughters, sons and fathers lost in this growing epidemic, and it’s extremely important that we must do everything that we can to put a stop to this.”

Just after midnight Friday morning, MCTS bus 5317 was sitting at a red light at the intersection of N. 35th Street and W. Capitol Drive. As the light turned green and the bus pulled into the intersection, a vehicle traveling westbound on Capitol Drive at approximately 100 miles per hours smashed into the passenger side of the bus, said MCTS Managing Director Denise Wandke at a press conference Friday afternoon. The driver of the vehicle died and several others were injured, including the bus operator.

The auto actually spun the bus around,” Wandke said, “and this is a 40-ton bus.”

Wandke said it was the most senseless crash she had witnessed in her 30 years working for the transit system, adding that the car was like a “100 mile-an-hour missile” hitting the side of the bus.

“This didn’t have to happen,” Wandke said.

Wandke and Crowley both said they were in “awe” of the bus operator’s bravery. In the moments after the crash occurred, he grabbed a fire extinguisher, checked on the three passengers and put out a fire on the car that hit the bus, Wandke said.

The government has a responsibility to continue investing in infrastructure that will improve road safety and deter reckless driving, Crowley said, but noted that part of the onus for ending reckless driving falls on the community.

All of us, every single one of us, in our entire community have a responsibility to enhance the safety of our roads,” Crowley said.

Wandke noted that the number of drivers hitting MCTS buses is up 40% so far in 2024 compared to this time last year.

The county executive also reiterated a call for state legislation that would allow the City of Milwaukee to deploy red light cameras. “We also have to provide our local officials with the ability to enforce traffic laws and reduce reckless driving,” he said. “And one area that we can work together is allowing Milwaukee to use automatic traffic enforcement cameras to catch speeders, and drivers who blow through red lights.”


7 thoughts on “MKE County: ‘Enough is Enough’ Crowley Says, After 100 MPH Driver Smashes Into Bus”

  1. Colin says:

    Wow huge shout out to the MCTS driver!
    Also I wonder if footage from the bus will be released, that is a LOT of energy to absorb/transmit.

    I hope this is just another wake up call to update our road designs.
    We don’t need 6-lane stroads throughout the city, intersecting, creating extremely dangerous speedtracks for folks to abuse and kill others with. Road diets and complete streets need to be applied everywhere. Even with unsafe drivers, these designs help force them and everyone to drive and travel safer.

  2. DAGDAG says:

    If our elected officials like Crowley and Johnson had a spine, they would be in Madison for a month getting legislation passed to punish those who are caught–by enacting and legislating for stiffer jail times or $$$ fines. Using catch phrases like “enough is enough” or that something is “unacceptable” might look good on camera, and give the citizens that elected them the idea that they are tough on an issue, yet they do little. Stop feeing sorry for the criminals. Put some bite into the penalties. In todays society, we seem to think that the bad guy should not be burdened with a high fine or extensive jail time…and the bad guys are out on the streets in a matter of hours. Traffic violations lead to bigger things. But it looks like God had something to say to the driver of this car.

  3. Notice the wording of this article: ” As the light turned green and the bus pulled into the intersection, a vehicle traveling westbound on Capitol Drive at approximately 100 miles per hours smashed into the passenger side of the bus…” The active responsibility of the person driving the vehicle was removed from the sentence. That driver, unnamed, willfully caused this crash and is entirely to blame for it. This lack of holding drivers responsible, removed even from descriptions of crashes, is at the heart of the problem. Drivers seldom seem to be held responsible for obeying traffic or even parking laws. The product of automobile-centric thinking is to remove responsibility from people when they operate a vehicle unsafely, drunk, recklessly, or even illegally simply because it involves automobiles.

  4. Thomas Sepllman says:

    It is time to KNOW the BRAIN of the individual who was driving the car. In all likelihood he was traumatized and his brain was injured.

    Yes to decrease the number of folks driving recklessly will require the community to deal with folks who have or are experiencing trauma so the get the help they need to heal.

    Just saying and continuing to be ignored

  5. Ryan Cotic says:

    Time to start arresting people driving recklessly, without a drivers license, without a license plate, who dont pay their fines, ect. If they do not dramatically increase the amount of people taken off the roads for these actions nothing will change.

  6. mpbehar says:

    DAGDAG: It’s not that the Mayor and County Exec are just sitting around doing nothing and have no will to lobby Legislators. How about you telling us about your going to Madison to lobby, write letters and/or circulate petitions about this?

  7. blurondo says:

    Most everyone’s reactions to outrageous/dangerous driving are after-the-fact punitive remedies. Much can be done by establishing tougher requirements to obtain a driver’s license. Start with mandatory state approved driver training to obtain a license. That can be required also when re-instating a suspended or revoked license.

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