PORTLAND -- TriMet decided to fire the bus driver who forced a mother and her four children off a bus in the rain over a fare dispute but the driver retired before that could happen.
"TriMet initiated the termination process over this incident, but prior to the termination she instead opted to retire," TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said Thursday.
TriMet's internal investigation found that the driver, identified as Claudeen Hendren, acted inappropriately in the June 7 incident.
According to the 911 dispatch log obtained by KGW, Hendren and the mother got into a dispute over an expired fare that the passenger had given the bus driver. Another passenger on the bus called 911 and a police officer responded.
The dispatch log showed that after the officer arrived, the mother agreed to pay the correct fare. Then, Hendren told the officer she still wanted them to get off “because she was already four minutes late and did not want people crying on the bus.”
The officer ended up driving the family home in a patrol car.
TriMet’s investigation included talking with the mother, a witness, the Forest Grove police officer and the bus driver. Results of the review were released Thursday and Hendren's actions were deemed inappropriate.
"This incident and how the operator handled the situation is not representative of the vast majority of our operators who deliver excellent customer service every day,” said TriMet Executive Director of Operations Shelly Lomax.
Hendren was the same person who stopped her bus in Hillsboro and refused to continue because a mother couldn’t stop her young child from crying.
In that case, Hendren was placed on paid leave for a time and TriMet said they provided her with training, counseling and closely monitored her performance. She was eventually put back in the driver's seat, along Line 57, but was warned that she would face termination if a similar situation occurred.
Hendren had been a driver for TriMet since 2001. She is now retired.