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Muni Texter Found Driving Again Despite Suspension

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) -- A Muni passenger who caught an operator texting while driving a bus was shocked to find her behind the wheel once again Thursday.

With Clipper card in hand, Shawn Higgins boarded the 24-Divisadero line Thursday morning. What he didn't expect was to run into the same Muni driver he busted in late February.

"My heart sank, my heart completely sank in my stomach and I thought 'Oh crap,'" Higgins said.

On February 27th, Higgins recorded the driver in the mirror, using an iPhone in his lap. Higgins confronted the driver on the texting, but said she forced him and his husband off the bus and threatened them.

When Muni officials saw the video, the transit agency recommended termination and placed her on a non-driving suspension.

On Thursday, Higgins said he couldn't quite believe it was the same driver, on the same route.

Higgins said he called Muni officials immediately and was told it couldn't possibly be the same driver.

"I was starting to doubt myself a little bit because Muni was trying to convince me that it wasn't true, that there was no way she could be driving," Higgins said.

CBS 5 contacted Muni and the transit agency admitted that it was the same operator behind the wheel. But officials said she wasn't supposed to be there.

"Are you kidding me? It was her then. I knew it was her. I called them and they said it couldn't possibly be her driving," Higgins said. "I am so upset right now, I can't believe that."

John Haley, Muni Director of Transit Operations told CBS 5 the driver will be fired. He is not sure if Thursday was the only time she was driving a bus during her suspension.

Haley acknowledged that there was a failure in the chain of command. "That problem has been corrected now. For me it means I will be holding some management people accountable for failing to follow through," he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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