Port Authority settles with family of student killed by bus

The family of Barbara Como, the Pitt student who was struck and killed by a Port Authority bus in January 2020, will receive a $500,000 settlement from the agency, according to a story in the Post-Gazette.

Como, of Chester Springs, Pa., was a 20-year-old senior anthropology student when she was hit by a bus turning from Fifth Avenue onto DeSoto Street on Jan. 18, 2020.

The bus was driven by Shavonne James, who pled guilty in January 2021 to involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person and was sentenced to three years of probation. She no longer works for Port Authority.

The criminal complaint said that James picked up a passenger at an undesignated stop and, while the passenger was still blocking her view of mirrors, turned into the intersection and struck Como, which is a violation of federal regulations for bus drivers. Police said the traffic light on Fifth Avenue was green, and pedestrians crossing DeSoto had a walk signal when the incident occurred.

The Post-Gazette story said the Port Authority’s performance oversight committee recommended on Jan. 20 that the full board settle a personal injury claim filed by Como’s estate when it meets Jan. 28. Mike Cetra, the authority’s chief legal officer, said the $500,000 settlement is the agency’s maximum liability under state law.