CINCINNATI - The bus driver who made national headlines for hitting a 9 News van during a live press conference on the casino collapse in Cincinnati was found guilty Monday and ordered to pay her citation.
Joann Searles, 48, decided to fight the $100 ticket in court after video of her went viral. Searles was the driver of the GoBus that clipped the van during live coverage of a news conference on the Horseshoe Casino collapse on Jan. 27, just outside the construction site of the new casino on Gilbert Avenue. She honked several times then backed the bus up, got out and forced the conference to move.
"If this group of people would have moved out of my way I would not have ran into this truck," Searles said after the accident. "We still have a job to do, and I understand you all got a job to do, but I still got a job to do, I got passengers on this bus."
Herb Haas, Searles' attorney, tried to point out that the 9 News van and another news van were parked illegally during the news conference. However, the vehicles were parked legally in spots designated for taxis.
"Did my client have a right to be on the road that day going West on East Court Street? Did she have a right to do that. Did she have a right to turn into her to deliver passengers that day?" asked Haas to a Cincinnati police officer.
The officer testified Searles had the right to drive down the street. However, Judge Dwayne Mallory ultimately concluded that Searles was guilty of the charge of improper lane change and ordered her to pay the fine.
Searles was terminated by Go Bus earlier this month.
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