A longtime Peter Pan bus driver is denying allegations that she intentionally locked a passenger inside a luggage compartment earlier this month.
Wendy Alberty, 49, of New Jersey appeared in Rockville Superior Court in Connecticut on Wednesday for her arraignment and a plea hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3, according to the court clerk’s office.
Her attorney, Nate Baber, said she will plead not guilty to the charges.
“She’s categorically denying any wrongdoing,” Baber said. “From my perspective, at this point, there isn’t a shred of evidence that this was criminal or intentional.”
The bizarre incident was first reported to police by a 32-year-old New York woman, who called 911 from the luggage compartment of a Boston-bound Peter Pan bus on Aug. 4. Connecticut State Police pulled the bus over on Interstate 84, just south of the Massachusetts border.
According to the police report, the woman told police that she had been “purposely locked inside by a female driver while attempting to retrieve items from her bag.”
Alberty was then taken into custody and charged with reckless endangerment and unlawful restraint, as well as breaching the peace.
Baber said Alberty has been driving buses for many years and has no record of incidents or complaints.
In a statement, Peter Pan said it was “deeply concerned” over the incident and that it had suspended the driver pending an investigation. The driver, whom Peter Pan did not identify, was hired in 2012 and “has been an exemplary employee for the company,” the bus line said.
Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.