A bus driver who struck and killed a man who had tried to board moments before and then left the scene told police he didn’t know he had hit anyone, according to investigators.
Investigators say Keith Elliott, 45, left his home on Messenger Street in Toms River, New Jersey around 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day and walked to the bus terminal on Highland parkway. He was planning on taking a bus to Lacey Township to spend the holiday with his family.
As he was walking, Elliott spotted a New Jersey Transit bus, investigators said. The bus had exited the terminal and was turning onto Herflicker Boulevard. The 60-year-old bus driver stopped after Elliott waved him down and tried to board. Investigators say the driver allowed Elliott to cross in front of him but gestured to him that he could not board the bus.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
The bus driver told police he believed Elliott had continued walking away and toward the terminal. The driver then turned onto Herflicker Boulevard and continued his route. As he was turning, police believe the driver struck Elliott. Both the driver and passengers on the bus told police they did not know Elliott had been hit. Elliott later died from his injuries.
So far no charges have been filed in the crash but police continue to investigate. Elliott’s sister Cristi Elliott told NBC10 she was stunned and angry by the new developments in the investigation.
“I still don’t know what to think,” she said. "You gotta hear thump off the side of the bus. You have to hear something especially if you’re sitting in the bus.”
A New Jersey Transit spokesperson told NBC10 the bus driver has been with the agency for 22 years and will remain out of service until a thorough internal investigation is completed.
“There’s closure because we know what happened,” Cristi Elliott said. “At the same time there isn’t closure because you don’t know why it happened.”