Medical examiner: Bus driver in crash died of natural causes

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The driver of a Metro Transit driver bus that veered onto the sidewalk, smashed into light posts and scraped against buildings along the busy Nicollet Mall on the Fourth of July died of natural causes.

WCCO reported that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the driver Sunday as John Lamaitre Senior Jr., 58, of Edina. The report said that he "suffered a sudden collapse, attributable to apparent natural causes" behind the wheel while driving a bus carrying about a half dozen passengers.

KARE reported that one passenger on the No. 10 bus was treated for an ankle injury and a bicyclist was clipped by the bus as it barreled through the intersection at 11th street in downtown Minneapolis.

Senior was taken from the scene by ambulance and died about an hour later at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The Star Tribune reported that Senior began working at Metro Transit in 2013. The newspaper story had details about Senior's background and physical condition, noting that "when he last renewed his driver’s license, the 6-foot-1 Senior listed his weight as 350 pounds." The story went on to say that Senior had worked for the Edina Fire Department for 8 years starting in 1980, "but lost his job... after his weight reached 400 pounds."

In an e-mail to the newspaper, Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr said that “all operators must be medically certified by a Metro Transit-approved physician before they are hired and are required to renew their medical certifications at least every two years thereafter. These medical certifications are a (Department of Transportation) requirement to hold a Commercial Driver’s License.”

He went on to comment that Metro Transit offers all employees access to wellness programs and has exercise equipment at all bus garages.

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