Peter Pan Bus Driver Arrested After Allegedly Locking Passenger in Vehicle's Luggage Compartment
Connecticut State Police pulled over the coach bus after receiving a 911 call from the passenger who stated that she was trapped inside the luggage compartment
A Peter Pan bus driver was arrested over the weekend after she allegedly locked a passenger inside the luggage compartment as the vehicle was traveling to Boston.
Following the incident on Sunday afternoon, bus driver Wendy Helena Alberty, 49, was taken into custody by Connecticut State Police, according to a statement on their Facebook page.
Connecticut authorities said they were first notified of the situation after receiving a 911 call placed by the trapped female passenger at approximately 4 p.m.
“On 8/4 at approx. 4:00pm, Troop C was notified via 911 of a female passenger who stated she was in the luggage compartment of a Peter Pan bus,” a spokesperson for Connecticut State Police said. “Dispatchers were able to ping her cell phone, updating troopers of the bus location.”
Once they had successfully determined its location, officials pulled over the bus on Interstate 84 in the town of Union, Connecticut, just a few miles away from the Massachusetts border.
“Troopers were able to stop the bus on I-84 E/B in Union, check the luggage compartments and found the female passenger, not injured,” the Connecticut State Police spokesperson wrote. “After an investigation, the bus driver was taken into custody.”
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Caroline Van Allen, another passenger who had been riding on the bus from New York to Massachusetts, told CBS Boston that it was shocking to witness the female come out from the luggage compartment below.
“All of a sudden my brain didn’t know how to react, there was a person on the ground,” she recalled to the outlet. “Did I hallucinate? Did she get off the bus? When did she get off the bus? We’ve all been sitting here.”
Van Allen also claimed that the woman’s desperate attempts to get help could be heard by some of the passengers sitting in the front of the coach bus.
“She was locked in there and had called 911,” Van Allen said. “Not only that, people in the front could hear banging for help.”
When police eventually pulled over the bus, Alberty was reportedly not driving, as she drove the first leg of the four-hour trip but switched after stopping in Hartford, according to CBS Boston.
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The woman locked underneath claimed that Alberty purposely trapped her inside the luggage compartment as she was attempting to retrieve items from her bag, Fox 61 reports.
Alberty was later arrested on first degree charges of unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and breach of peace, and held on a $2,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on August 21.
An attorney to speak on Alberty’s behalf could not be immediately located by PEOPLE.
The bus, meanwhile, continued on its journey to Boston, where it arrived a few hours late, according to the outlet.
In a statement to Fox 61, Peter Pan Bus Lines said they were “deeply concerned and are treating this as our #1 priority,” before adding that Alberty, who worked for the company since 2012, has been placed on an investigative suspension.
“The Operator in question is currently on investigative suspension as we continue to investigate all aspects of this incident as well as cooperate with Connecticut State Police,” a company spokesperson said.
“This Operator… 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 continued.
“In our companies 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,” they finished.
A representative for Peter Pan Bus Lines did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.