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    Woman allegedly faked being shot on MBTA bus

    Nancy Parker waited for her arraignment to begin today in Suffolk Superior Court.
    Josh Reynolds Photo for The Boston Globe
    Nancy Parker waited for her arraignment to begin today in Suffolk Superior Court.

    The part-time MBTA bus driver gave a detailed description of her armed assailant, down to a severe case of facial acne, and said a bullet zipped by so close she could feel a brush of wind on her thigh. She showed police bullet holes in her jacket, and said the attacker who took her wallet was sent by a former lover to collect a debt.

    Nancy Parker said she escaped repeated, close-range gunfire aboard her empty bus on Oct. 2, 2007 at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Exeter Street in Chelsea, and she worked with police to produce a sketch of the suspect.

    But prosecutors call her story bogus.


    Yesterday, Parker was charged in Suffolk Superior Court with filing a false report, misleading a witness, and worker’s compensation fraud.

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    The case has come before the courts previously. It was dismissed in 2009 in Chelsea District Court by Judge James LaMothe over the objections of prosecutors. But in December, a Suffolk County grand jury issued a three-count indictment against Parker, who yesterday pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

    “Contrary to her training, Parker did not call 911 or use the bus radio to request an emergency response,’’ said David McGowan, Suffolk assistant district attorney. “Instead, Parker used her cellphone to call bus operations at the Charlestown garage. Parker claimed there were no passengers on the bus, despite this being one of the MBTA’s busier bus routes.’’

    Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said yesterday that it was unlikely that Parker could have escaped being wounded by gunfire, given the bullet holes in her tight-fitting MBTA jacket.

    Prosecutors did not speculate on a motive, but said the defendant collected $7,700 in worker’s compensation, saying she injured her arm in an attempt to elude the gunman. Doctors were paid $2,063 out of the claim to treat her.


    Mandy Hebert, Parker’s lawyer in the 2009 Chelsea District Court case, told LaMothe during that trial that ballistic evidence backed Parker’s story. A bullet was recovered from the driver’s seat, the lawyer said, and the motive of a thief is not for a crime victim to determine.

    “A robbery is a robbery,’’ Hebert said, according to a previous Globe article.

    Parker, 53, of Burlington, left the courtroom yesterday with her lawyer, Jennifer O’Brien, and both declined to comment.

    Parker, who made $17.26 an hour, was hired by the MBTA in August 2006 and was fired in August 2008, a T spokesman said.

    An investigation into Parker’s background revealed that she had filed a previous worker’s compensation claim with Comcastthat turned out to be false and was denied, according to an MBTA Transit Police affidavit. Parker said that she had fallen off an elevator at a Comcast work site, according to the affidavit.


    In the alleged attack aboard the MBTA bus in 2007, Parker said, the assailant yelled, “I want your money’’ and then “I want your wallet’’ before firing at her and hitting her seat. The bullet narrowly missed her leg, she told investigators.

    Parker said she then got up and moved toward the middle of the bus, but the gunman blocked her from reaching the rear exit door. As she attempted to pass him, she said, he pushed her on the shoulder, causing her to fall onto the fare box.

    The suspect then grabbed her and she fell face down onto the floor, Parker said, then pulled her wallet out of her back pocket and stood over her, firing three rounds at her. All of the bullets narrowly missed, she said.

    She said she remained on the floor not knowing where the gunman was, but after several minutes of silence reached into her shirt pocket for her cellphone and called the Charlestown garage. It was not clear in her narrative when the bullet holes were made in her jacket.

    Parker initially told investigators that it was a random attack. She later said she believed the gunman had been sent by a woman she had dated 14 years ago. Parker said she owed the woman $5,000, and that the former girlfriend had threatened to “cap her’’ if she did not repay her.

    Clerk Magistrate Gary D. Wilson released Parker without bail and ordered her to return to court Feb. 28 for a hearing.

    Brian R. Ballou can be reached at