Skip to main content

'Hero' passenger killed in Duluth bus crash was trying to help stricken driver

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The man who died when an out-of-control bus in Duluth was involved in a series of collisions – including with another bus – had run forward to help the driver moments before the crash.

Michael Mooney, 53, of Duluth, was a passenger in an eastbound Duluth Transit Authority bus being driven by Rodney Polson, 58, when it crashed on April 14.

Details released by Duluth Police Department, based on surveillance footage and witness accounts, reveal Mooney ran from his seat to the front of the bus to aid Polson, after it became clear something was wrong with the driver as the bus went out of control.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness has paid tribute to Mooney in light of the revelations, telling the Star Tribune his actions were "the very definition of heroism."

"He was a Marine, and I think he recognized the severity of the moment and understood that action was required," Ness told the newspaper. "He put his own life at risk to save the lives of others. … We are both thankful and appreciative of his willingness to act."

Duluth police also revealed that another of the bus passengers, 58-year-old Marie Doucette, remains in critical condition in hospital.

Damage caused by barrier smash

Police say the bus's eventual collision with another DTA bus, heading westbound, wasn't actually the most severe aspect of the crash, the release notes.

It found that the "vast majority" of the damage sustained by the bus came when it crashed into a traffic signal, changing the bus's direction towards the westbound carriage, where it crashed into the concrete barriers along the roadway.

The collision with the westbound bus was described as "minor."

Police continue to investigate the incident. There's no indication at this stage what caused Polson to lose control of the bus, though the Duluth News Tribune reports that police have previously said a medical event could be behind it.

According to his obituary, Mooney joined the U.S. Marines after graduating from Harvard High School, serving for 10 years and retiring as a sergeant.

He moved to Duluth in the early 1990s and eventually ended up working at the Black Woods Group.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.41.51 PM

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge hits the market for $6M

The restaurant will remain open while the property is on the market.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 12.27.48 PM

Apartments, brewery proposed for site of former Minneapolis lumberyard

The developer is proposing two buildings connected via skyway.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 1.27.38 PM

'Exceptionally rare' meteorite impact crater found in the Twin Cities metro

Had it struck in today's world, much of the Twin Cities would've been wiped out.

Grand Old Day

Organizers seeking ideas for 'reimagining' of Grand Old Day

A task force is set to begin meeting next month to reimagine the event.

fentanyl

Eveleth man gets 11 years for selling woman fentanyl that led to fatal OD

Torisa Sulvoris Wallace, 39, was sentenced to 134 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Virginia Thursday.

Brian O'Hara

Brian O'Hara selected as new Minneapolis police chief

O'Hara currently serves a deputy mayor role in Newark, New Jersey.

Darbys

Darby's bar in Minneapolis' North Loop to close after 11 years

The business announced it will be closing in October.

NickEngerFB

Blaine man found dead inside car that crashed into lake

The victim's father said his son was on his way to work before the crash.

Police tape

Man fatally shot at a home in Brooklyn Park

The shooting happened at a home in the 7800 block of Tessman Drive.

Related