Local News

Woman Killed In Fatal Bus Accident Remembered As Intelligent, Pleasant

Posted September 13, 2004

— Police have identified a 25-year-old woman who died after she was struck by a DATA bus in Durham while crossing an intersection Saturday night.

The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Katie McClary. The accident happened just before 11 p.m. at Broad Street and West Markham Avenue.

Authorities say an ambulance that was taking McClary to the hospital was later involved in an accident on West Main Street just west of Broad Street.

"We were on the phone when her ambulance was stuck," said Patti McClary, Katie's mother.

A second ambulance transferred McClary to Duke University Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

McClary was a 2001 graduate of Duke University. She was about to start her fourth year as junior varsity volleyball/basketball coach at Durham Academy. McClary, a native of Wisconsin, was described by others as outgoing and energetic.

"She was intelligent and she had a quick sense of humor," McClary said.

"She had a good way about her. She was a good teacher of the games and was also a pleasant person to be around," said Steve Engebretsen, of Durham Academy.

Over the weekend, school officials contacted students to tell them about McClary's death. The gym at Durham Academy became a place of reflection and students left roses to honor her memory. Counselors were on campus to help students deal with their grief.

"It's very sad. We've got kids who are trying to help each other deal with it, but they are very sad and probably don't understand," Engebretsen said.

The junior varsity and varsity volleyball matches at Durham Academy were canceled Monday.

Police say charges are pending in the case. Johnny Chavis, the driver of the DATA bus, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Officials said McClary's injuries were so severe that it is not known whether she would have survived even if her ambulance did not get into an accident.

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