TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Kashara Burton had just put her bike on a bus that was stopped on a Tampa corner, thinking she had time to get on board.
“I asked the driver when he was leaving,” Burton said. “But he didn’t respond. He had earphones on and just didn’t hear me.”
It was early in the evening last March at the corner of North 27th and East 131st near USF. Burton said when the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus started to leave, she ran after it and banged on the side to get the driver’s attention.
“It started leaving with my bike on it and I had all my things in my arms,” Burton said. “And the next thing I knew, I was on the ground.”
On the ground, under the bus.
“I was run over. I tried to get up and [the bus] dragged me down the road,” Burton said. “It felt like forever honestly. I heard a woman screaming, ‘for the love of God, please stop.'”
Burton recalled how the physical pain in the coming days was followed by mental anquish when she read the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s crash report.
“The pedestrian lost her footing and fell to the ground,” the report said.
“They said that I tripped and fell,” Burton said. “He hit me. I didn’t fall. The bus hit me. That’s what made me go down to the ground.”
The report got worse, according to Burton. It stated the deputy “determined the pedestrian was improperly in the road, causing the crash.”
“I was very hurt,” Burton said when asked how she reacted to the deputy’s findings. “I was so disappointed. I felt like he didn’t serve me any justice.”
She also claims the duputy never talked to her.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Marco Villareal countered that, saying a deputy did speak to her “while she was at the hospital.”
The crash report did not include any of Burton’s claims, but did indicate there is a “supplemental investigation.” 8 On Your Side filed a records request for all the documents connected to the incident and the bus surveillance video.
HART spokesman Frank Wyszynski said in an email he could not comment.
“We are unable to respond due to an active claim against HART,” Wyszynski said.
Burton is frustrated by what was left out of the report, but also surprised by a statement from the driver that indicated he checked “on the woman’s condition” after the accident.
“I was on that ground laying there waiting for EMT,” Burton said. “I never saw his face. He never came to see if I was okay.”