Bus camera captured triple-fatal crash - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bus camera captured triple-fatal crash

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It was a horrific scene on Interstate 89 earlier this month: a family of three killed in a car crash. The cause is still under investigation.

"It was a head-on crash. Both vehicles ended up in the southbound lane of travel," Vt. State Police Sgt. Mark Magnant said.

WCAX News has learned police have video of the accident. A CCTA bus traveling from Montpelier to Burlington caught the crash on camera. Just moments before impact, you can see 29-year-old Jason Potvin's Subaru fishtail before he lost control, crossed the median and collided with an oncoming truck.

"I'm sure that is helpful to law enforcement and we're happy to cooperate," said Bill Watterson, the general manager of CCTA.

Watterson says every bus in the fleet is equipped with at least four cameras, all capturing different viewpoints.

"So this camera points to the back of the bus... We also have a camera that points out the front," said Tim Bradshaw of CCTA. "That camera gives you a view looking back."

Bus drivers can hit a panic button when an incident occurs. This pinpoints a frame in the footage, making it easier to find at day's end.

CCTA busses have had cameras on them for at least a decade and digital recordings since 2008. Transportation officials say they're designed to protect the company and the riders. The vast majority of the video will never be seen.

"The intent is not to be putting the outside world under surveillance. It's really just sort of this zone that's around the bus because, of course, something could happen," Watterson explained.

And when something does happen, Watterson now says he expects law enforcement to call.

"The value for an investigation truly is priceless," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.

Higbee says the Burlington Police Department frequently relies on these roving cameras during their investigations.

"That's one of the first phone calls that we make is to CCTA to find out did they have the bus in the area?" Higbee said.

He says they've used bus surveillance to solve high-profile cases like Harold Porter's. The convicted attempted kidnapper's rare truck was captured on a CCTA camera as Porter fled the crime scene. But Higbee says no crime is too small and the cameras are most frequently used to solve car break-ins, burglaries and stickups.

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