Torrance Transit Bus Driver Found Guilty of Manslaughter

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Torrance Transit bus driver Sevell Benson was convicted Thursday of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the death of an elderly man killed in Long Beach in 2012.

Benson, 53, of Los Angeles, was driving a Torrance Transit bus Southbound on Pacific Avenue in Long Beach on July 6, 2012 as 87-year old David Miao and his wife were crossing Pacific Avenue at 8th Street. Evidence presented at trial (including video of the incident) showed that Benson saw the victim at the crosswalk from over 200 feet away and slowed the bus, but Benson did not stop or yield to the pedestrian. As Benson drove through the crosswalk, the bus struck Mr. Miao. Mr. Miao was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital where he died of internal injuries.

Assistant City Prosecutor Randall Fudge, who prosecuted the case, noted that “Mr. Miao’s death was a senseless tragedy.” City Prosecutor Doug Haubert stated that, “vehicular manslaughter cases involving professional drivers are rare, but we are pleased that the defendant will be held accountable.”

Sentencing for Benson is scheduled on April 23, 2014, before Judge James Pierce in Department 22 of the Long Beach Courthouse. The maximum sentence for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is one year in county jail.

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