BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) – A Butler Transit Authority bus driver died following a short battle with COVID-19.

At just 38-years-old, Adam Fry suddenly found himself unable to finish the workday. His sister says the bus company needed to call in a relief driver.

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When Fry wasn’t behind the wheel of a Butler Transit Authority bus, he was spending time helping out at church. But after COVID ran rampant through the bus garage, his family says instead of serving at the church this weekend, they’re busy preparing for his funeral.

The buses sit parked inside the Butler Transit Authority garage Monday as Jamie Gross tries to make sense of her brother’s death

“Adam is one person that definitely did not deserve to go at 38-years-old, he had a whole lifetime. It’s just not right,” said Gross.

Fry died Friday at just 38.

The Butler Transit Authority bus driver told his sister he started feeling sick two weeks ago. He allegedly tried to push through and eventually called off. Then, still sick, Gross claims he went in to cover one final shift.

“He was messaging me and calling me throughout the day. Halfway through the day, he said he couldn’t make it through the day, so they sent a relief driver,” Gross said. “Monday, he was intubated by 10:45 p.m., so within a week it was already too late.”

Last week, before Fry’s death, the Butler Transit Authority pulled all of the local buses off the streets, citing “driver illnesses.”

“I really don’t think that his job took things seriously as far as making sure the drivers, as well as the passengers, were safe enough to go through the pandemic,” Gross said.

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The Butler Transit Authority sent this statement:

“The Butler Transit Authority (BTA) was saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Adam Fry. BTA, however, possesses limited information about the situation, as all drivers are employed by a third-party contractor who provides fixed-route services to BTA. Mr. Fry, along with all other drivers of BTA buses, was an employee of MV Transportation.

“Based upon conversations with MV Transportation, Mr. Fry was scheduled to work on Sept. 17, 2021, and did report to work on that date. Several hours later, Mr. Fry began feeling unwell and was immediately removed from service and instructed to seek medical attention. Mr. Fry did not return to work after that date.

“Masks are mandatory on all BTA buses, and such requirement is regularly communicated to staff and riders. BTA has provided masks and hand sanitizer for passengers on each vehicle.

“BTA has taken all efforts to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on the BTA buses, and will continue to place such safety as a top priority.”

That company, MV Transportation, issued this statement:

“The MV Transportation team is deeply saddened by the death of one of our own team members this week. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the driver’s family and friends, including the many colleagues and passengers in the Butler region. MV has been the operations partner for Butler Transit since 2017.

“We remain committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and riders, including maintaining rigorous COVID-related safety protocols since the early days of the pandemic. These include but are not limited to providing masks and hand sanitizer to our employees, maintaining social distancing practices, conducting deep cleaning of work spaces and vehicles, and maintaining contact tracing and quarantine protocols. We require all employees to wear masks throughout their work day and, along with Butler Transit, support the FTA’s mask mandate on all public transportation, providing riders with masks when they do not have one of their own. Additionally, we have educated our workforce on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination and have strongly encouraged them to be vaccinated.”

Gross says she planned to get vaccinated with her brother, but they never did.

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“Take the vaccine seriously, take the masks seriously. This isn’t something that’s a hoax, this isn’t something that should be played with. We’re losing too many people,” she said.

Meghan Schiller