Local News

Witness recounts fatal bus accident in Chapel Hill

Posted May 15, 2008 10:21 p.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2008 5:57 a.m. EDT

— A witness said “it was a helpless feeling” watching as a Chapel Hill Transit bus hit a jogger who died shortly after the Thursday morning incident.

The 20-year-old woman was trying to cross a street, on the south campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, just before 11 a.m. when the bus struck her.

David McInnes said the accident he witnessed at the intersection of South Columbia Street and Manning Drive is a scene that keeps replaying in his head.

“I was walking down the sidewalk in that direction, the same direction as the bus," he said. “I heard someone yelling, maybe a pedestrian, and I heard a sickening thumping sound. I looked up and saw the back wheels going over her body.”

The jogger died at the nearby UNC Hospitals. Her name was being withheld Thursday evening until her family was notified.

McInnes and others who work on the UNC campus, and who often walk along Manning Drive, say the road is known for its close calls between pedestrians and drivers.

“Half the time, they (drivers) don't stop. Once you get in the crosswalk, they just keep going,” Cindy Spivey said.

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

No charges were filed.