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Autonomous bus was in manual mode when it crashed in Whitby, Durham police say

The scene of the crash in Whitby last month. Colin Williamson

An autonomous transit bus that crashed in Whitby, Ont., last month, leaving the operator seriously injured, was in manual mode at the time of the collision, Durham Regional Police say.

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In a statement released Wednesday, police said the investigation into the Dec. 16 crash determined the vehicle was in manual mode prior to and at the time of the crash.

“Therefore, the hazard mitigation safety systems designed for the vehicle while in autonomous mode were disabled at the time of the collision,” the statement said.

Read more: Autonomous bus crash in Whitby leaves man in critical condition

The crash happened when the vehicle was southbound on Watson Street West, south of Victoria Street West. It left the roadway and struck a tree, police said.

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 3:50 p.m.

The 23-year-old safety attendant, who was the only person aboard the bus at the time, was taken to a Toronto-area trauma centre with critical injuries.

Police said he has since been released from hospital and is expected to fully recover.

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