AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - UT police have arrested the driver of a CapMetro bus that hit and killed FOX7 Austin employee Tony Diaz in late January. 40-year-old Mindi Taylor Stafford is charged with manslaughter.
UT police said their detectives found Stafford in Killeen and booked her into the Bell county Jail.
She is expected to eventually be transferred to the Travis County Jail.
“The one thing that was very clear is the people on that bus were undoubtedly traumatized when they saw this tragic event unfold,” said UT police chief David Carter. Stafford is being charged in the death of cyclist and Fox-7 Austin co-worker, Tony Diaz. “The driver appeared to drive in a reckless manner which ultimately caused the death of Tony,” said Chief Carter.
According to Carter, in January, Stafford was driving a CapMetro bus northbound on San Jacinto, Diaz was in front of the bus also traveling north. “I reinforce the fact that Tony did everything he was supposed to do in terms of being safe it was a tragic crash to which we are very sorry,” said Chief Carter. Diaz was hit by the bus and died.
“At some point the bus left its designated lane of travel and with the bus drifting to the right the front of the bus actually collided with tony on the bicycle,” said Chief Carter. The bus didn't come to an immediate stop. According to UT police it traveled about 110 more feet. “The location of the crash was well lit no of vehicle was traveling in the vicinity,” said Chief Carter.
Chief Carter said video from inside the bus shows passengers growing more and more concerned as the bus got closer to Diaz. “A forward facing passenger on the bus actually shouted out and tried to get the attention bus driver,” said Chief Carter.
Police did not find any illegal drugs or alcohol in Stafford’s system but would not comment if she took any of the prescription drugs found in her backpack. “Some of the information is going to come out in trial as evidence kind of works through that,” said Chief Carter.
After talking to some of the passengers and reviewing nearby surveillance video, Chief Carter said the reckless driving was enough to warrant a manslaughter charge for Stafford.
She was arrested in Killeen and taken to the Bell County Jail.Travis Transit Management Inc, who hired Stafford to be a CapMetro bus driver, released this statement:
"We are aware of the University of Texas at Austin police department's proceedings today. The person identified is no longer employed at Travis Transit."
The incident still remains under investigation and more charges could possibly be added.
Capital Metro released this statement:
"Capital Metro was made aware of the arrest and continues to cooperate with law enforcement in their investigation of the January 28 crash. Our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of Tony Diaz."
UT police said one reason it took this long to make an arrest was because they had a difficult time locating the passengers as many left before police could talk to them.