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Bus driver was handling cellphone as he struck, killed Alaska mayor and her mother: Police

Monica Carlson shortly after being sworn in as Skagway's mayor in October 2017. (Courtesy Steve Hites)

WASHINGTON — The tour bus driver who struck and killed an Alaska mayor and her mother last week was handling his cellphone when he hit them, court documents say.

Gerard James, 45, of Baltimore, was arrested Thursday and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Monica Adams Carlson, 61, the mayor of Skagway, Alaska, and her mother, Cora Louise Adams, of Elbe, Washington, as they crossed Pennsylvania Avenue at 7th Street Northwest on the night of Dec. 19.

According to the court documents, James was driving north on 7th Street and turning left onto Pennsylvania Avenue while the two women were crossing the avenue. Footage from one video camera on the bus showed the women were in the crosswalk.

Another one, pointed at James, showed he had been talking on his phone seconds before making the turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue. As he was turning, the phone rang again, the documents said, and James picked up the phone with his left hand and switched it to his right.

“As the video shows this, the impact of the striking of the two pedestrians can be heard on the video,” the court documents said.

The two women died at a hospital about a half-hour later.

James was driving for the Eyre Bus Company. He told the police he’d been a driver for 18 years.


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