Police release 911 call from woman who claims bus driver locked her inside luggage compartment


Police have released the 911 call from a woman who claims she was locked inside the luggage compartment of a Peter Pan bus for nearly an hour.

The alleged incident happened in August, when the unnamed woman was traveling from New York City to Boston. As the bus was passing Hartford, Conn., police received a frantic call from a woman who claimed the driver had deliberately locked her inside the vehicle's luggage compartment.

"I have no battery left, I'm not OK," the woman says. "The bus driver locked me underneath the bus."

The dispatcher then asks for clarification, originally misunderstanding what the woman says has happened.

"Yes, yes. I'm under the bus with the luggage and I'm afraid," the woman says. "I need help. Nobody knows where I am."

Following the call, police managed to stop the bus near the Massachusetts border, where they found the woman unharmed in the luggage compartment.

Wendy Helena Alberty, the bus driver, was taken into custody by Connecticut State Police. Alberty was later arrested on first-degree charges of unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and breach of peace, but on Tuesday, those charges were dropped.

"From my perspective, she should have never been arrested," Alberty's attorney, Nate Baber, told PEOPLE. "She’s gone through a lot over the last couple of months... I’m not sure the damage can ever be undone, but she’s happy that she at least doesn’t have to deal with this aspect of it."

The woman told police that she was trapped in the compartment after going to retrieve something from her bag during a stop in Hartford. She begged the police for a rescue as she called from beneath the passenger cabin.

"Please," she on the 911 call. "Is someone going to be able to help?"

Fellow passenger Caroline Van Allen told ABC News that the woman had probably spent around 45 minutes trapped by the time police arrived. Van Allen also remembered hearing a banging noise from beneath them during that time.

"She didn't have access to air and ventilation for 45 minutes. I think that would put someone over the edge," Van Allen told ABC News. "I cannot stress enough how calm she was and she did not seem angry ... she even didn't look relieved. She just looked dead in the eyes."

But Alberty’s lawyer completely refutes the idea that the woman was put there intentionally. Baber said his client must have misunderstood something she overheard Alberty saying, which could have led her to believe she'd been trapped while trying to access her luggage.

"In terms of why she might have thought why my client did that, it’s hard to tell because it’s so beyond the pale that any human being could actually do something like that," Baber told PEOPLE. "[It’s] about as bad as it gets. If she does think that my client did it intentionally, she was incredibly misinformed."

Baber said Alberty is "relieved" that the state dropped the charges, but he also acknowledged the toll the accusations have taken on his client.

“She was doing everything that she hoped and dreamed she could do, including raising four amazing kids, and it all came crashing down," he adds. "It’s really devastating for her and her family that she has gone through it."

Alberty was suspended from driving for Peter Pan during the investigation, ABC News reported. However, it's unclear whether or not she's been given her job back following the dropped charges.