New York, NY — New details have emerged about the deadly accident at the College Point bus depot in Queens that claimed the life of an MTA worker Tuesday morning, March 27, – the second MTA worker fatality within one week.
Stephen Livecchi, 59, who was set to retire in January 2019 after almost 37 years on the job, died at the scene after reportedly being hit and then run over by a bus pulling out to park. The “cleaner/helper” who was operating the bus at the time of the accident is part of the maintenance department at College Point depot. She was going in reverse and did not see Livecchi.
Livecchi was neither directing traffic nor changing a tire, as had been previously reported by other news outlets, according to a union official. Livecchi’s job at the depot included “shifting”, or putting buses on the line to go back out, or sending them to the maintenance shop for repairs; in this role he was “always on the move.”
The union official said that Livecchi walked by the side of the then stationary bus where he saw and waved to the driver; he then walked away while looking down at a piece of paper in his hand, likely a daily log schedule that would let him know which bus to move next. He was walking and stopped about 15 to 20 feet behind the bus, in its blind spot, where it would have been impossible for the driver to see him, and paused there for a few seconds while still consulting his document. As the bus began backing up, another bus driver who was driving into the depot from his morning route, saw what was happening and leaned on his horn, trying to alert Livecchi to the danger. The attempt to save him did not succeed, however, and Livecchi’s life was tragically lost.
Maintenance workers at the depot routinely hear a lot of noise on a daily basis, TWU Local 100 VP of MTA Bus/Private Lines Peter Rosconi points out. Livecchi was known by management to be a very dedicated worker. The nature of the particular job that he was performing requires movement on foot which he had safely done for 36-plus years. Livecchi’s death was the first on the job tragedy in the MTA Bus Division since the takeover of Private Bus Lines in 2005, 2006, Rosconi added.
“It’s hard on everybody, including the three or four people who witnessed the accident,” Rosconi said. “He was well-liked by his peers, always willing to help his fellow workers, and well-respected by the bus operators; he was known by the whole depot. Nobody had a bad word to say about him. He will be missed, not just by those at College Point, but by all the Local 100 members.”
Livecchi’s death continues to be investigated.