Driver of SUV that hit BRTA bus in Cheshire charged with OUI drugs
NORTH ADAMS — An Adams woman is facing charges for allegedly being under the influence of drugs when she drove head-on into a bus in Cheshire last December.
Anne Harrington, 35, of East Hoosac Street, was arraigned on Wednesday on three misdemeanors and a civil infraction in the crash.
Harrington was heading north on Route 8 shortly before noon Dec. 17 when her gray SUV crossed the center line and hit the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus, causing it to careen off of the road and strike a nearby house.
The scene was captured by onboard security footage provided by the BRTA.
A witness told police on the scene that he had been driving behind Harrington and saw her drifting between the breakdown lane and across the center line, according to a criminal complaint filed by Cheshire Police Officer Corey Demary.
Harrington, who was unresponsive and having difficulty breathing when first responders arrived, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment, the report states. The extent of her injuries could not be learned.
The southbound bus was occupied by six passengers and a driver, none of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. Five of the six passengers, were transported to Berkshire Medical Center for further treatment.
An assistant general manager for the BRTA was onboard conducting surveys at the time of the accident but was not injured.
Samples of Harrington's urine taken at the hospital tested positive for buprenorphine, cannabinoids and opiates, according to the police report.
She pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to single counts of operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and a marked lanes violation.
She was released on personal recognizance and scheduled to return for a pretrial hearing on April 4.
Her court-appointed attorney could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Replacing the bus will likely take well over a year, according to BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati.
"We accommodated with a different vehicle, however, it still had some useful life in it so it wasn't scheduled to be replaced," Malnati said. "Right now we still have to find out what the proceeds are for it and how to go and replace the vehicle."
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