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San Mateo Family Says SamTrans' Negligence Caused Fatal Bus Accident: Lawsuit

The family of a woman killed by a SamTrans bus has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Peninsula public transit system, accusing the agency of fitting the bus with “unsafe” headlights.

The lawsuit filed Thursday names multiple defendants including the driver involved in the accident, SamTrans and its contractor MV Transportation (MV). MV operates some of SamTrans’ fleet of buses.

The accusations include claims SamTrans and MV were “negligent in the maintenance of the bus, including the headlights.” The suit also alleges the headlights on SamTrans bus 448 “were unsafe,” “failed to properly illuminate the road” and the “deficiencies were the cause of the collision which killed Sol Gloria.”

MV Transportation never responded to NBC Bay Area’s requests for comment on the lawsuit. SamTrans said it can’t comment on open litigation. In our earlier story, SamTrans’ CEO and General Manager April Chan defended the agency’s headlights saying they meet industry safety standards and are checked daily.

WATCH: ‘I Just Killed Someone’: SamTrans Is Ignoring Headlights Warnings, Bus Drivers 

Ernesto Gloria was the victim’s husband. He says his wife was taken away from him on his birthday last year.

“There must be accountability,” he said. “They are accountable to the public and their accountability is in the buses they operate.”

Ernesto Gloria and his wife, Sol.

On Tuesday, the Investigative Unit broke the story about larger concerns surrounding the fatal accident on June 29, 2022 around 1:20 a.m.. Sol Gloria had dementia, and while police and her family were looking for her, SamTrans bus 448 hit and killed her while she was walking in the middle of El Camino Real in the Menlo Park-Atherton area.

The lawsuit filed by Gloria’s husband and daughter also accuses the driver involved in the accident of failing “to keep a proper lookout” and driving the bus “at an unsafe speed.” The police report reviewed by the Investigative Unit does not cite the driver, Jimmy Maerina, for speeding. It states Sol Gloria was at fault for the collision and that Maerina was unable to avoid making contact.

Still image from video captured by SamTrans bus 448. Maerina says he had less than three seconds to react.

Maerina did not want to speak on camera about the lawsuit but sent a statement saying, “I was deeply saddened by that accident and the family that was involved … I was deemed not at fault by MV Transportation, SamTrans and the police department … There was no possible way to avoid making contact with her.”

NBC Bay Area also spoke with Maerina about the case before the lawsuit was filed.

“[SamTrans and MV] have to change those headlights. The headlights are the main issue here,” he said in our report on Tuesday.

The Gloria family say they still haven’t heard from SamTrans personally.

“These people who are involved in public service must also take into account that we are people with feelings, you know. And we hurt,” said Ernesto Gloria.

Candice Nguyen was the investigative reporter on this story. To contact her about this report or another story tip, email

Source: NBC Bay Area

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