For the second time in six months, a Calif.-based Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) coach operator was arrested for making false claims about being injured on the job.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Donald Evans in September, and a Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant earlier this month, charging him with one felony count of false workers’ compensation claims following a traffic accident while on the job. Evans, who had worked for RTA for two years, was arrested and released after posting $25,000 bail.
The alleged injuries occurred in December 2012 when a car struck the bumper of Evans’ Route 16 bus while it was parked at a Riverside bus stop. RTA’s immediate assessment of the accident revealed minor scratches to the bumper but otherwise no damage.
Evans did not report any pain or discomfort the day of the accident. The next day, RTA halted Evans’ bus driving after he complained about injuries to his head, neck and back, as well as his left ankle and arm as a result of the accident. Because Evans claimed he was unable to work, RTA paid nearly $5,000 in medical payments and temporary disability costs, as well as legal fees. On Jan. 11, 2013 a physician cleared Evans to resume full-duty work.
During that time, an RTA review of on-board video footage confirmed minimal contact between the vehicle and the bus and no jolting at the time of the impact. None of the passengers aboard the bus complained of any pain. Although Evans claimed that he was standing at the time of the accident to assist a disabled passenger, video footage showed him sitting in his seat. A physician concluded that Evan’s alleged injuries were not consistent with the type of accident in which he was involved.
Investigators with the DA’s office began investigating the 59-year-old Moreno Valley man after receiving allegations of possible insurance fraud. During the investigation, RTA officials noted that Evans underwent a physical examination to renew his commercial driver’s license and falsely denied any prior workers’ compensation claims. If convicted, Evans faces up to four years in custody.
The incident follows one last spring when an RTA driver was arrested for workers’ compensation fraud. During that investigation, officials from the Riverside DA’s office concluded that the driver, who was receiving RTA disability benefits, was operating his own limousine service and videotaped driving; handling customer luggage; and lifting bags of ice, tire rims and cases of water.