Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Wake Held for MTA Bus Driver Killed in Village Crash

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TWC News: Wake Held for MTA Bus Driver Killed in Village Crash
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Family, friends and co-workers remembered a city bus driver killed last week in Greenwich Village at a wake Wednesday. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

They came by the busload to honor one of their own.

One week after William Pena became the first bus driver since 2008 to be killed while on the job, hundreds of fellow bus operators came to honor him at a chapel across the street from the United Nations.

"He deserved this, and I know that this is him, and everybody loved him," said Araseli Pena, William Pena's sister. "People that he drove to the doctor's office came to see him because that's how he was, a great guy."

Bus drivers, officials from the Transport Workers Union and the heads of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit crowded into the Church Center for the United Nations for more than several hours for Pena's wake. Mayor Bill de Blasio made an appearance, too.

At Pena's Manhattan bus depot, colleagues are paying tribute with a symbolic gesture.

"The seat he frequently sat on in the swing room at Quill Depot remains empty," said John Samuelsen, president of TWU Local 100. "That's how revered he was by the folks that worked with him every day."

Pena was killed last Wednesday when a truck that authorities say had been stolen slammed into his M14 bus.

The man behind the wheel of that truck, Dominic Whilby, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving.

Friends described Pena as a devoted family man who loved riding his motorcycle and dreamed of retiring to the Dominican Republic.

"He had about 18 years on the job, so he should have had about six left to go," said one bus driver from the Quill Depot. "I know he had a little daughter, a young daughter, so he was working hard for her and his wife."

Pena is the first city bus driver killed on the job since 2008, and the first to die in an on-duty collision in more than 14 years.

A funeral for Pena will be held Thursday morning at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on the Upper West Side, followed by burial in his New Jersey hometown.

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