Local News

Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus

Posted October 28, 2008

— A Burlington woman died after being struck Monday afternoon by a Chapel Hill Transit bus, police said Tuesday.

Valerie Hughes, 33, of 1148 Strader Drive, died at UNC Hospitals after the 4 p.m. incident at the intersection of South Columbia Street and Mason Farm Road, police said.

Hughes worked in radiology ambulatory care at UNC Hospitals.

The bus driver has been identified as James Willie Orr.

Chapel Hill police were still investigating the case Tuesday, and there was no word on whether any charges would be filed.


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  • Timetogo Nov 4, 2008

    I do agree that drivers should be more responsible when it comes to yielding for peds BUT I experience TOO MANY TIMES where peds deliberately walk in front of cars daring you to hit them. Stupidity should be a valid excuse to floor it!!!

  • caryhomeimprovement Nov 4, 2008

    WRAl, is this still under investigation, or did they find out what happened yet?

  • gordonbabe Nov 3, 2008

    That's exactly my point Justin. Well said! Everyone needs to stop assuming that the other can/will stop.

  • Justin T. Nov 3, 2008

    I follow the old saying, "the pedestrian always has the right of way".

    There are many, many times where a jaywalker has been saved from getting crushed by 6,000 pounds of American steel by me assuming that they are going to cross against the signal.

    I don't even care who is right or wrong... I just know that I don't want to take any chances and don't want anyone's death on my conscience.

  • gordonbabe Oct 31, 2008

    Yes and there are just as many Pedestrians that walk when they aren't supposed to.

    All this is a two-way street. Just as many jay-walkers as there are impatient drivers, if not more.

  • mpheels Oct 31, 2008

    "they REALLY need to make it so that ALL stop lights are red, with no turn on red signs, while the pedestrians have the walk signal"

    It will probably come to that, I just wish TPTB would educate about and enforce the laws that already exist. I see people turn right on red all the time at intersections with signs barring it. Rules like that are only as good as the enforcement. If we focus on enforcing the rules that already exist it will increase safety dramatically.

  • Con Amor Oct 31, 2008

    mp.. As much pedestrian traffic as Chapel Hill has, they REALLY need to make it so that ALL stop lights are red, with no turn on red signs, while the pedestrians have the walk signal.

  • mpheels Oct 31, 2008

    I was walking to the bus stop yesterday, getting ready to cross the street at this intersection. I stopped at the curb, hit the cross walk signal button, and waited for the light to change. As the light turned red I looked left to make sure oncoming traffic was stopping before I stepped off the curb. Just as I got ready to start crossing a Jeep pulled into the right turn lane (turning from Columbia St onto Mason Farm Rd), I made eye contact with the driver to make sure he would stop for the red light. He looked right at me then revved his engine and sped past me to turn right on red without stopping. I avoided being run down in that case, but it meant that I missed the first few seconds of crossing time, so drivers turning left on Columbia were already halfway through the turn, and in no mood to stop again. Which left me to stand in the middle of the cross walk staring at drivers waiting for someone to stop so I could cross.

    Drivers need to learn and the rules an follow them!

  • tarheelalum Oct 30, 2008

    The driver's name should not have been released. As the facts stand, he did nothing wrong and faces no charges so he should not be publicly disgraced like this. Imagine how horrible he already feels.

  • gordonbabe Oct 30, 2008

    People... THIS IS A BUS we're talking about. Not a volkswagon beetle! No one, but the driver of that bus knows what he did, didn't; could or couldn't see at that particular time of day. There's no point in arguing about it.

    Obviously the investigation is still ongoing. It is a tragedy all around for all involved. To be honest, it will be hard to "blame" anyone.

    I, myself, almost hit a pedestrian Tuesday afternoon while leaving campus. I was driving a small SUV, was nowhere near a crosswalk and the guy just walked across the road. I was in a line of cars that was going very slowly, but because of the sunlight and the door frame I didn't see him until he was almost directly in front of my car! Granted I wouldn't have killed him, but it would've hurt him at least.

    I wasn't in a hurry, but he looked at me like I was crazy!