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MetroAccess driver suspended, dialed 911 without stopping vehicle

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(WJLA) - James McCray is a contract driver for MetroAccess. He says that on the night of May 17, he was driving a wheelchair-bound passenger home when he turned off of Alabama Avenue onto Stanton Terrace.

"As soon as I turned a corner it was like we...drove into a war zone in Southeast D.C. I thought it was gunshots," he described. "The glass shattered, my client screamed a little bit."

McCray says he picked up his company-issued mobile device, radioed his dispatcher for help, and then called 911.

But now, he is in trouble – because he didn’t pull over and stop before making the 911 call.

"WMATA's rule is zero tolerance for a mobile device -- but that mobile device might have saved our life it it had been gunshots," he argues.

It turns out that it was someone throwing rocks that broke his window, and McCray has now been suspended for ten days without pay.

A spokesperson for his Ohio-based employer, First Transit, told us she could not discuss specific personnel issues, but that in general:

"First Transit policy dictates that we remove from service any driver whose safe vehicle operation is called into question as we investigate. Pending the outcome of a thorough internal investigation, First Transit then takes the appropriate corrective action, whether it involves re-training or disciplinary measures."

Says McCray: "I felt it was a life-or-death situation. I was afraid for my life, I'm sure my client was afraid for his life."

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