JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New reports released Thursday in the criminal case of a bus driver accused of running over a passenger allege the JTA driver “ignored the victim’s screams” as she tried to pull her arm out of the bus.
That passenger, Jeanie Rozar, was run over and killed in June 2019. Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus driver Jean Silney is now accused of manslaughter in connection with her death.
According to a description of the surveillance video recording inside the bus the day of the incident, Rozar got on the bus, paid her fare and asked the driver how long it would be until the bus was going to leave.
The driver responded “soon.”
Rozar then began to curse at the driver, according to investigators.
“Jeanie argues that other drivers leave at different times. Jeanie curses again,” wrote an investigator. “The driver warns her again to not curse on this bus. He says if you do it again, she will be removed from this bus. This was her last warning, and she will not curse on the bus again.”
At this point, video, which was not available to News4Jax, shows Rozar getting off the bus. Investigators describe seeing the driver move in his seat to close the door and as the front door is closing, Rozar sticks her right arm in between the doors as they close together.
Investigators said Silney then started to pull off and turned the steering wheel. Investigators then can hear Jeanie say “Excuse me, my arms is caught in it.”
The bus driver is seen on video pulling quickly into oncoming traffic in the opposite lane.
When the bus is in motion, investigators said they could hear Rozar yell on the video again “You got my arm in it.”
Investigators then describe the video showing her running next to the bus before her feet got pulled under the first set of tires. Officers said they could see and hear the bus run over an object twice.
‘Gross and flagrant’
Investigators said despite not being told by any of the people who saw the incident that Rozar’s arm was stuck in the door, Silney can be heard on the video making reference to the fact that her arm was in the door.
Reports show investigators spoke with the JTA Training Advisor James Wiggins and asked him whether the driver would be able to hear screams if the door was cracked and someone was outside screaming.
Wiggins told investigators he watched the video of the incident and that they should hear screams. He added that when a JTA driver is operating the bus, there are no radios or music being played.
Wiggins also told investigators JTA drivers are required to ‘watch the door close’ before they pull off from any stop, to visually view and look at the driver door to make sure there are no obstructions before they pull away.
Investigators, along with the State Attorneys Office, decided to charge Silney with manslaughter.
“The overall actions of the suspect, which were gross and flagrant, show a reckless disregard for human life as well as a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public,” wrote one investigator.
Silney had been a driver with JTA since 2007.
A News4Jax records request for Silney’s personnel file revealed he was fired months before the incident where Rozar was killed for nearly running over his supervisor’s foot with a bus when she confronted him about being early.
He was re-hired after the driver’s union appealed his termination.
Investigators state they were able to see the video of the incident between Silney and his supervisor.
“Silney and the female argue about being early,” said one investigator. “Silney then drives off at 01:18:45 almost running over the supervisor’s feet. Silney then pulls up a short distance and stops again. The same supervisor is seen walking up to the driver’s side window again. This time, Silney will not open the window to speak with her. Silney says he can hear her through the window.”
“As the supervisor is walking in front of the bus, Silney lunges the bus forward and almost hits the supervisor for second time.”
Records released by the State Attorneys Office also show an apology letter from Silney.
“I want the organization to know that my behavior on that day was unacceptable and completely out of line, but it was an isolated incident which does not reflect my personality and my character,” wrote Silney.