Local News

Woman, hit by bus in Chapel Hill, dies

Posted May 15, 2008 11:44 a.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2008 8:53 p.m. EDT

— 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.