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Woman, hit by bus in Chapel Hill, dies

Posted May 15, 2008

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— A Chapel Hill Transit bus driver has been taken off duty after being involved in an accident that left a 20-year-old jogger dead on Thursday, officials said.

The woman attempted to cross Manning Drive, southeast of South Columbia Street, shortly before 11 a.m. A Chapel Hill Transit bus then struck her, police said.

A witness who saw the aftermath of the accident said medical workers performed CPR on a younger woman lying in the street.

"He was pumping on her, trying to get her back to life," said witness Thomas Hux, adding that he never saw the woman move.

The jogger was taken to UNC Hospitals but died of her injuries. Officials withheld her name, pending notification of family.

The bus driver will be placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of an investigation by campus and town police, said Steve Spade, director of Chapel Hill Transit.

Police said there was not a designated crosswalk at the accident scene.

Workers in the area said their safety is at risk daily when they walk in that area.

"When you almost get hit, that's when you talk about it," said Cindy Spivey, who works at UNC Hospitals. "If you work on the other side of the street, you have to cross the street. There's no way around it."

Spivey recounted an incident in which, she said, a car almost hit her and a friend: "We had the flashing light, and a lady got in the turning lane, and my friend had to pull me out of the way because she almost hit me."

The university runs a pedestrian-safety campaign in which officials pass out literature at four campus crosswalks twice a year, said Jennifer Bonchak, with UNC's Highway Safety Research Center.

"The four crosswalks where we're stationed were what were determined as perceived dangers," Bonchak said.

UNC established a pedestrian-safety committee after a fatal accident at a crosswalk on Manning Drive nearly a decade ago.


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  • gordonbabe May 16, 2008

    I've been on both sides of this; a walker and a driver. I've waited at a crosswalk for traffic to stop and waited as a driver for someone to cross.

    People dart out of everywhere at anytime. As a walker, I'm standing AT A CROSS WALK, but you can wait all you want and some cars just won't stop, but when they do I don't just stroll across. I quickly get to the other side so traffic can continue.

    I'm not saying this wasn't the case in this situation, but more often than not this is exactly the case. I see it EVERY day. Campus police need to cite anyone walking outside the crosswalks, be it employees, students or visitors, I don't care if it's the Chancellor himself. Then they need to cite speeders through campus. And start off retraining the bus drivers, but I don't believe this was a driver at fault. Buses can't stop on a dime.

    I pray for everyone involved here.

  • chatamite May 15, 2008

    As for the other Transit wreck a few weeks ago, no , the Transit driver was not charged.

  • fireguy May 15, 2008

    This is the second person to be hit and killed by a transit driver in chapel hill in the past month also. There was a male walking across the road at MLK BLVD and Hillsboro and was also struck and died. Terrible for transit, Hope its not there fault.

  • uncange1 May 15, 2008

    A person who makes insensitive comments. "What is a HOOLIGAN?"

    There is your Jeopardy for tonight, hooligan.

    I am praying for her and all others involved.

  • chatamite May 15, 2008

    There's nothing wrong woth the road. The road doesn't move or change. Also, pedestrians do not always have the "right of way" That's and old rumor. Check out North Carolina Motor Vehicle Law Chapter 20 if you're interested Like 20-172 20-175 and you can go the North Carolina General Assembly page and look up all these and others. Pedestrians can be charged for a violation of Motor Vehicle law when they cross wrong. That in no way is meant to take away from the fact that this is a terrible event, but people need to not go around thinking they "know" the law and preaching it when they have no clue.

  • Tired Of Excuses May 15, 2008

    Very sad. If this had been a car would there be an investigation and the driver allowed to carry on with life until fault was decided? Don't think so.

  • hooligan May 15, 2008

    No jeporady tonight. Lets get ready for the week long petty parade.

  • OSX May 15, 2008

    This breaks my heart. I have wondered why God let's things like this happen. To teach us how to love, maybe? I just don't know.

    This is one for Rev RB,

    Thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • Thomas Pynchon May 15, 2008

    I would say looking before crossing in Chapel Hill is a survivor skill. Definitely.

    I've seen many a crazed SUV driver on the phone and not paying attention going ten miles over the posted speed limit.

    Bicyclists own the roads? Are you sure about that? This so called liberal town has some of the worst roads for bicycling. I'm tired of the huge percentage of car owners constantly whining about the incredibly small percentage of bicyclists on the roads. Listen to me carefully. Bicycles are TRANSPORTATION. They are not merely toys.

    Use the bus. Use the park and ride. There are TOO MANY CARS. I see your face and how frustrated you are that you can't take that machine to its intended speed. It's just going to get more crowded so stop whining.

    End of rant.

  • grayboomerang May 15, 2008

    Desiderata..completely agree with your post.

    Also, a bus does not have the stopping ability that a car does. I see people do really scary things on the road when it comes to big vehicles..aka horse trailers, buses, trucks..etc...what people don't realize is that they cannot stop on a dime.

    Sad situation