Another Wolfline bus driver complains of fumes
Posted January 12, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Just weeks after the death of a North Carolina State University campus bus driver sparked controversy about fumes on the buses, another driver has come forward saying smells on her bus made her sick.
Lisa Feeney said she noticed a fuel smell on Wolfline Bus 1502 on Thursday morning, The longer she drove the route, the worse she felt.
"I started feeling like I had a headache, and I started to feel nauseous," Feeney said Thursday.
Feeney said some of the passengers also noticed the fumes.
Feeney let her superior know about the problem, and they told her to pull over and wait for assistance.
Timothy Stokes, spokesperson for First Transit, a Cincinnati-based firm that contracts with N.C. State, said when a maintenance manager arrived, there were no issues found with the bus.
"They said the bus did have a diesel smell on it," Feeney said.
The bus soon continued on its route but with a different driver. Feeney said she refused to drive the bus, citing concerns over the death of fellow driver Joann Veronica Griggs Sewell last month.
Sewell, 50, of Raleigh, died three days after her family said she was overcome by fumes on a Wolfline bus on N.C. State's Centennial Campus.
Patricia Ray, the union representative for Teamsters Local 391, which represents First Transit's Wolfline drivers, said two other drivers complained about fumes on Sewell's bus earlier that day.
First Transit has operated the Wolfline system since 2007.
"We believe First Transit does a great job," N.C. State Environmental Health and Public Safety Associate Vice Chancellor David Rainer said Thursday.
Rainer said Feeney's bus did have a fuel leak that was repaired earlier in the week.
"There was nothing wrong with the bus, and it was put back in service," Rainer said.
Rainer said there were no more complaints from drivers and riders on the bus.He said complaints of odors on buses are extremely rare.
But Feeney said she knows what she smelled and believes it made her sick.
"I was taken aback that someone got on it and took over the route," she said.
Feeney's bus is still in operation, according to the university.
First Transit said the bus Sewell drove before she died was taken out of operation because the North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating her death..