JASON RANTZ

Rantz: After hours unnoticed on Seattle bus, unresponsive man pronounced dead at end of shift

Mar 15, 2022, 6:50 PM | Updated: Mar 16, 2022, 7:39 am
metro bus...
A utility service worker for King County Metro deep cleans a bus as part of its usual cleaning routine at the King County Metro Atlantic/Central operating base on March 3, 2020, in Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A King County Metro service worker found an unresponsive man on a Seattle bus after the end of a driver’s shift. He was pronounced dead after medics were called. The 30-year-old victim had been on the bus for hours before being noticed, though it’s unclear if the man died during or after the end of the shift.

At around 6:20 p.m. on March 10, a service worker found the man on a coach that was parked at the Ryerson Base in downtown Seattle. The bus driver had already ended their shift. Seattle Fire Department arrived but could not help the man. Medics pronounced the unidentified man dead at 7:24 p.m.

There’s now an investigation into the evening’s events. How did the passenger go unnoticed for so long? Would early intervention have saved his life?

Rantz: King County Metro says it supports Ukraine — too bad it doesn’t support Seattle riders

How did he go unnoticed?

Neither the passenger’s identity nor the cause of death has been released. But King County Metro says the victim was on the Route 124 bus for several hours before being found by a service worker. This route travels between downtown Seattle and Tukwila.

“Preliminary information is the passenger boarded earlier in the afternoon. We’re working to confirm the elements of the timeline of this incident,” a King County Metro spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Bus drivers are supposed to check their coach for sleeping or intoxicated customers throughout their shifts. They are not supposed to bring passengers onto the base. Protocol, in this case, may not have been followed, though the spokesperson says, “Metro is reviewing this incident.”

“All operators are instructed to check their coach for sleeping/intoxicated customers and that no passengers are to be brought onto a base,” the spokesperson explained. “If an operator finds a passenger that is unresponsive, they are to use their best judgment in attempting to wake them, and to call a coordinator if they don’t feel safe in doing so.”

King County Metro transit operator Erik Christensen, a colleague of the driver, tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the driver did check the cab. It might have been an unfortunate mistake.

“We’re supposed to check our buses before we leave. And I know that driver did,” Christensen explained. “We’ve also become, well, complacent — some of us because we see it so often. So when we look back, such as in my case, I’ve made that mistake. … Didn’t result in death, fortunately, but I’ve made the mistake of just doing a cursory look. And then the second look realizing ‘oh, there’s somebody on the bus.’ It’s sad that it happened.”

Is this an end result of a homeless trend?

It’s hard not to connect this incident to the ongoing homelessness crisis, even though it’s unclear if the passenger was homeless. If so, it wouldn’t surprise everyday riders or drivers who have long complained that homeless individuals have taken over some routes.

Fares aren’t enforced under the false claim that it’s racist. But activists and lawmakers also complain that it disproportionately impacts the homeless. This is obviously true: Fare enforcement impacts people who do not pay fares. That’s the point.

But the lack of enforcement means that the homeless ride for free, oftentimes using the bus to sleep or abuse drugs.

Christensen says he deals with a homeless addict abusing drugs on his bus at least four times a week.

“They seem to favor the express routes or those that don’t make a lot of stops because it gives them more time to do what they need to do,” Christensen explained. “And it gives them time to sit back and enjoy the high, which usually involves passing out in most cases.”

It’s hard to believe another passenger on the bus didn’t notice the man. If this wasn’t such a common occurrence on a bus — a man looking to be passed out — perhaps there could have been early intervention from a fellow passenger.

Will anything be done to address the issue?

Bus drivers filed a historic number of complaints with King County Metro in 2021. They say they’ve seen an uptick in homeless people smoking narcotics on the bus. I’ve personally seen addicts smoking either meth or fentanyl in the back of the bus, not caring they’re impacting other passengers.

Rather than publicly address the issue in a meaningful way, Metro has instead declared its support for Ukraine in the fight against Russia. While that virtue-signaling may earn the agency some social currency, it does nothing to address the user and driver experience on the bus.

More concerning, it does nothing to end the suffering of addicts. Early intervention may get them on the right path, but city and county officials prefer not to be proactive in aggressive treatment.

Rantz: Fare enforcement is now racist in Seattle because… equity

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Bellingham Sex Shop...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School Board director hosts ‘Queer Youth Open Mic’ at sex shop

Unless Jenn Mason clears out the store, those children will be near sex toys, graphic books, and lingerie, with a curtained doorway keeping them away.
21 hours ago
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped a King County Superior Court Judge in the face, but the judge didn't want to be identified as a victim.
2 days ago
(Seattle Police Department)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Victim died as medics waited for critically understaffed Seattle Police to arrive to scene

Due to critically low staffing, Seattle Police were unable to quickly respond to a deadly hit and run as medics waited to be cleared to treat the victim.
3 days ago
Police officers block a street as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) ar...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Did Seattle councilmembers abuse police help, while defunding department?

I didn't come up empty-handed because I have no idea whether or not it's true. In this case, I was stopped from doing a part of my job.
7 days ago
Slides from Kirkland Middle School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Presentation  from April 28...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School used unsubstantiated hate speech claim to push kids into equity training

KiMS principal alleged there was an "an increase in use of racial and identity slurs." The incidents were "pervasive rather than an isolated incident."
8 days ago
A volunteer collects heroin syringes from a homeless encampment on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washi...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressives push drug legalization lie, amidst fatal OD surge and past failures

Instead of combatting the drug crisis, left-wing activists hope to legalize drug possession under the guise of treatment by lying about their plans.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Rantz: After hours unnoticed on Seattle bus, unresponsive man pronounced dead at end of shift