PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former Port Authority bus driver took the stand Thursday, two years after being involved in a major crash that sent her bus tumbling over a hill. 

Juliann Maier testified she started noticing some control issues with the bus she was driving out of the Ross Garage just as she got on I-279.

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Surveillance video at Ross Garage shows how she pulled up to a door of the garage and stopped shortly before she entered the Expressway.

“Going down the ramp, I started noticing it shimmy,” she testified. “I didn’t see it as a problem because most of the time we can correct this.”

She testified the control issues sometimes were made better by increasing speed and she insisted she never saw this gesture by Thomas Frauens which prosecutors say was a gesture to race but which Frauens says was just a wave to say hello. She insisted she concentrated on gaining control, not racing.

“It’s shimmying pretty good. It’s moving my arms pretty good. The shimmying was getting harder and harder. The next thing I know it was pulling me. I looked in my mirror and it swayed from side to side,” she said.

The shimmying ended with her tumbling down a hillside. She was treated for major injuries.

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“Julie’s had the chance now to tell the public what happened in this case,” said her defense attorney Joel Sansone. “These accusations by the prosecution that my client was engaged in horseplay or racing are foolish.”

But she faced rigorous cross examination by prosecutor Brian Catanzarite.

Prosecutor: “Did you check your steering?”
Maier : “It was fine until it got on the highway.”

Prosecutor: “When you felt that shimmy did you pull over and stop?”
Maier: “No.”

Prosecutor: “You accelerated rather than pulled off to the side, correct?”
Maier: “Correct.”

The case resumes Monday when a defense expert takes the stand.

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