A former city bus driver drove away with an MTA bus in East Harlem Tuesday after other passengers were evacuated as a safety precaution because she had gotten angry and refused to put out her cigarette, officials said.
The woman, Charita Headley, was fired last July for “extended absence,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
Headley lit a cigarette about 7:10 a.m. on the M101 bus at 96th Street and Third Avenue, the MTA said. She got angry when the bus driver asked her to put out the cigarette, the MTA said.
The bus driver, on orders from the dispatcher, took the bus out of service and arranged to have passengers put on another bus. After the other passengers were off the bus, the woman got behind the wheel and drove three blocks north before she was blocked by another bus, the MTA said.
Headley was taken by police to Metropolitan Hospital Center for an evaluation, the MTA said.