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Metro Transit bus driver who died driving down Nicollet Mall had history of weight issues

The aftermath of the incident.
The aftermath of the incident.

Around 10 a.m. Friday, a Metro Transit No. 10 bus veered off Nicollet Mall, hitting a lamppost, trash bins, and the WCCO TV building in the process.

Riders reported that the driver was apparently having some sort of medical emergency in the moments before his bus veered off course, and he ended up being pronounced dead about an hour later.

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Edina resident John Senior Jr. "suffered a sudden collpase [sic], while driving a bus, attributable to apparent natural causes," a release from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner says.

Senior Jr. started driving bus for Metro Transit last summer. At the time of his death, the 6-1 58-year-old weighed 350 pounds, according to a Metro Transit Police Department report.

The Star Tribune reports Senior Jr. lost his job with the Edina Fire Department back in 1988 when his weight reached 400 pounds, but in an email, Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland tells us he was deemed fit enough to drive a bus when he was hired on May 6 of last year.

"All bus operators must be medically certified by a Metro Transit-approved physician before they are hired and they are required to renew their medical certifications at least every two years thereafter," Siqveland writes. "These medical certifications are a Department of Transportation requirement to possess a Commercial Driver's License."

A rider and a bicyclist who was clipped by Senior Jr.'s bus were injured during the incident, but both are expected to be all right.

As you'd expect, folks who were out and about in downtown Minneapolis when the incident occurred snapped photos of the aftermath and posted them to Twitter. Here's a sampling:

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.


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