Funeral held for MTA bus driver killed in collision with truck

Stacey Sager reports
February 20, 2014 3:04:23 PM PST
Friends and family gathered Thursday to bid a final farewell to an MTA bus driver who killed on the job in Greenwich Village last week.

William Pena's funeral was held at 11 a.m. at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on the Upper West Side.

Those who loved him the most were still trying to understand the senseless way in which he died.

"He really only did one thing wrong. He got up and went to work that morning, which is what he's supposed to do. And if he was only five minutes earlier or five minutes later, he'd still be here today," said Eddie Agard of the Transport Workers Union.

The 49-year-old died when an alleged drunk driver slammed a stolen truck into Pena's bus.

On Wednesday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those who attended Pena's wake.

He was a bus driver for 17 years and leaves behind a 17-year-old daughter.

The driver of the truck, Dominic Whilby of Griffin, Georgia, was taken into custody and treated for non-life threatening injuries at Bellevue Hospital. He is facing several charges, including manslaughter. Whilby is the nephew of model Tyson Beckford.

Whilby reportedly had a 0.18 blood alcohol reading, twice the legal limit. The assistant district attorney told the judge that he "was in New York for less than half a day before he began his reign of terror on the citizens of New York County."

People arrived on buses Thursday to pay their respects, many of them close friends and co-workers of Pena, all too familiar with the daily risk of their job.

"I had close calls. Thank God I'm still here, but nothing like this," said bus driver Howard Davis.

At his funeral, Pena was remembered as the kind of driver who cared about his passengers, talked to them, even inspired them.

"A guy was down on his luck. Pena gave him $300, which the guy came back a later time and returned the money," said Pena's co-worker Donald Yates.