Charges Dropped Against Peter Pan Bus Driver Who Was Accused of Locking Woman in Luggage Compartment
"She's relieved that the state did the right thing and dropped the charges, but she's still upset and disappointed that she’s ever been put in this situation in the first place," attorney Nate Baber says of Wendy Helena Alberty
The Peter Pan bus driver, who was arrested over the summer for allegedly locking a passenger inside the luggage compartment as the vehicle was traveling to Boston, is no longer facing criminal charges.
Wendy Helena Alberty was taken into custody in August by Connecticut State Police after a female passenger placed a 911 call and claimed she had been purposely trapped inside the bus’ luggage compartment while attempting to retrieve items from her bag.
More than two months after that day, when Alberty was arrested on first-degree charges of unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and breach of peace, her attorney Nate Baber tells PEOPLE that the charges against his client have officially been dropped by the state of Connecticut.
“From my perspective, she should have never been arrested,” Baber says. “She’s gone through a lot over the last couple of months … I’m not sure the damage can ever be undone, but she’s happy that she at least doesn’t have to deal with this aspect of it.”
Baber said he was unsure how the unidentified woman got inside the luggage compartment, but vehemently denied Alberty’s knowledge of the situation and claimed that the arrest stemmed from the passenger’s misinterpretation of a conversation between Alberty, 49, and another person.
“The passenger possibly misinterpreted something that she heard and then relayed that to the police, and they either misheard what she said or they took that information and that was the only thing they needed to arrest my client,” he shares. “It all stemmed from what she told the cops about what she thought my client did.”
“In terms of why she might have thought why my client did that, it’s hard to tell because it’s so beyond the pale that any human being could actually do something like that,” Baber continues. “[It’s] about as bad as it gets… If she does think that my client did it intentionally, she was incredibly misinformed.”
Baber noted that the state’s decision to end the prosecution was “bittersweet” for Alberty, who had no criminal record prior to this incident and has been living the American dream since she moved to the U.S. as a teen.
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“She’s relieved that the state did the right thing and dropped the charges,” Baber explains. “But she’s still upset and disappointed that she’s ever been put in this situation in the first place.”
“She was doing everything that she hoped and dreamed she could do, including raising four amazing kids, and it all came crashing down,” he adds. “She’s been the manifestation of what we want people in this country to become. It’s really devastating for her and her family that she has gone through it.”
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Moving forward, Baber said Alberty plans to return to her job as a Peter Pan bus driver. (The mother of four was temporarily suspended by the company following the incident while they investigated.)
“Peter Pan has treated her well and has been fair with her. She hopes to return,” he says. “My belief is that she will.”
When contacted by PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Peter Pan Bus Lines said they were also “looking forward to having her back on the road.”
“This operator has been with Peter Pan Bus Lines since 2012 and she has been an exemplary employee for the company. Over her tenure, she has received many customer commendations on her safe driving and customer service,” the spokesperson stated, adding that in the company’s “86 year history we have never had an incident such as this.”
“The safety of our passengers and employees is always our number one priority,” the spokesperson added.