FRTA driver arrested after nearly hitting man and two boys with bus

  • Steven Connell, a 38-year-old Gill resident and Franklin Regional Transit Authority bus driver, veered the bus he was driving off Main Street and crashed Thursday afternoon, nearly hitting a man and two boys who had been his passengers as well as a bystander. COURTESY PHOTO/Greenfield Police Department

Staff Writer
Published: 6/5/2020 5:49:27 PM

GREENFIELD — A Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) driver is being held without bail after he purposefully veered the bus he was driving off Main Street and crashed Thursday afternoon, nearly hitting a man and two boys who had been his passengers, as well as a bystander.

Steven Connell, 38, of Gill, was arraigned in Greenfield District Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault with intent to murder while armed, four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, single counts of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, assault and battery, and assault on ambulance personnel, a civil rights violation and a marked lanes violation.

According to a statement from the Greenfield Police Department, officers responded to Main Street near Federal Street at 3:34 p.m. on Thursday after a call reporting a bus crashed into a stone wall and a building.

According to the statement, Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan was nearby. He reported he saw the driver of the bus, later identified as Connell, chase after and grab a black man who was nearby. Police say Strahan intervened and managed to get Connell off the man.

Connell was reportedly yelling that the man he was attacking had a gun, according to the statement, but officers confirmed the man did not have a gun.

The Police Department states the man, and two boys with him, had been passengers on the FRTA bus Connell was driving. They reportedly exited the bus on Main Street, near Hope Street.

Witnesses told authorities the three were walking west on Main Street when the bus suddenly accelerated and veered off the right side of the road, going over the sidewalk and crashing, according to the statement. Connell then reportedly ran after the man and started attacking him.

Officers spoke with Connell, who reportedly said he attacked the three because one of the boys made hand gestures indicating he had a firearm, according to the Police Department. He confirmed to police that he crashed the bus in an attempt to apprehend the three.

Another person, who was seated on the sidewalk nearby, was also reportedly almost struck by the bus when Connell drove it off the road. No injuries were reported.

According to the statement, Connell was later evaluated at the hospital, where he allegedly kicked an employee.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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