Skip to main content

After 4 decades without a dent, a driver called 'Crash' is parking the bus

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The driver with the best safety record in Metro Transit history is turning in his keys.

After more than 42 years behind the wheel, Jerry Olson is retiring.

As the Star Tribune notes, Olson has won just about every award the Twin Cities' transit agency gives its drivers, including 41 consecutive Safe Operator Awards.

Last year Olson was named Bus Operator of the Year by a statewide group, the Minnesota Transit Operators Association.

He's driven nearly every route in the Metro Transit system, and WCCO says Olson has safely delivered an estimated 23 million passengers.

This embed is invalid

Metro Transit tells MPR News that Olson was involved in one accident early in his driving career, but after that he went 41 years without a single crash.

And Crash, by the way, is the nickname that his high school buddies gave to Olson. He told the Star Tribune in 2013 that he crashed two cars soon after getting his driver's license, including a '55 Chevy for which he'd paid $35 – less than he spent on his 8-track player, he said.

When Olson started driving a bus in October 1972, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry had songs in the Top Ten ... President Nixon was running for re-election ... the buses were without heating or air conditioning ... a brontosaurus boarded on Nicollet Mall ... (well, all but the last are true).

His last official day at Metro Transit is Friday, but Olson drove his final route on Wednesday and family and friends were along for the ride.

The 63-year-old Olson tells MPR he'll spend time with his toddler granddaughter, who has a sibling on the way.

And while he's taking his best-ever safety record into retirement with him, Olson's legacy will live on. Metro Transit says for the past 18 years he's been an instructor to new operators, in addition to holding down his regular driving shift.

Next Up

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."

Nero

The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.

MPR

APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.

motorcycle

Motorcyclist killed in Ham Lake after passing in the turn lane

The motorcyclist was hit by a car turning onto the road.

Keith Ellison

Minnesota gets cut of Ford settlement over misleading ads

The $19.2 million settlement centers on Ford's C-Max hybrid and Super Duty pickup truck.

Related