Looking back at fowl play.
Posted July 2004
Twenty-two years ago, bus driver Charles Wormald radioed his supervisors with the University Transit System to report that he had just been in an accident.
“Was there any damage?” he was asked.
“No,” Wormald replied, “the bus is fine, but I think the chicken’s totaled.”
In death, the bird — which had wandered into the road from a nearby front yard — inspired the UTS Chicken Award, which for several years in the 1980s went periodically to drivers involved in amusing, confounding or inexplicable mishaps.
“It livened things up,” says Wormald, who now lives in Sterling, Va. “It’s an interesting legacy.”
One driver was honored for accidentally tripping burglar alarms at the Darden School while attempting to find a soda machine late at night. Another crashed while attempting to pull a bus through the open-ended washing shed.
Wormald won his second award when a buzzard-sized bird flew into the side of his bus.
“I was going to try to ignore it,” he recalls, “except the woman behind me said, ‘Wow, did you see that?’ So again I called in and said, ‘Well, you’re not going to believe it, but I just had another accident with a bird of some sort.”