“I started to feel like I could not catch my breath,” recalled paratransit rider Evelyn Duenas.
Guam – Last Saturday evening, Evelyn Duenas was traveling on a paratransit bus when she started to feel a little dizzy. As her nausea worsened, Duenas believed that she was experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning. The allegations were made during a legislative oversight hearing this morning with the Guam Regional Transit Authority.
“I started to feel like I could not catch my breath,” recalled Duenas. “And on top of that, I started to feel sleepy. I felt like passing out from the lack of oxygen.”
She says her symptoms were so severe that she asked to be removed from the bus. But during the transit shuffle, Duenas says she started vomiting. An ambulance was eventually called to assist Duenas.
“When the ambulance arrived, the medic assessed my condition and determined that I had been exhibiting symptoms of level 3 carbon monoxide poisoning,” she said.
She added that a Guam Memorial Hospital physician confirmed the poisoning as well and informed her to take a week’s worth of recovery.
“He further stated that the company should take appropriate action on vehicles emitting fumes. I called [GRTA] to have rides scheduled for the following Monday and Tuesday,” she said.
However, she was informed at the time that only two GRTA vehicles were in service due to the vehicle shortage.
“Since my condition is created by the contractor’s defective equipment, I am requesting GRTA to initiate agreement for the repairs and safety inspection of the GRTA equipment,” stated Duenas.
The paratransit bus is procured by Kloppenburg Enterprises Incorporated. PNC reached out to Brad Kloppenburg, the President of the Transportation Enterprise who claims the bus in question showed no signs of defect.
“We’ve looked into it. We’ve gotten statements from the drivers and dispatchers and we have no other reports from the passengers indicating that they smelled the fumes. We even had our maintenance look into it and they weren’t able to find anything that indicates there were fumes of the interior of the bus,” he tells PNC.
He did confirm that the passenger was, in fact, ill during transit. However, Kloppenburg notes that he could not speak to the passenger’s potential preexisting conditions that may have led to her illness.
Regardless, Duenas stated that she might pursue legal action.
“I am considering taking appropriate, immediate action against the related parties over this incident that are responsible for the defective equipment that caused this situation. I also take issue over the lack of concern and the attitude of the individuals involved. I do not wish this to happen to another person especially individuals like me who have a disability,” she declared.