Local News

Chapel Hill bus driver pleads no contest in pedestrian's death

Posted April 28, 2009 12:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2009 1:47 p.m. EDT

— A Chapel Hill Transit driver pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle in the Oct. 28 death of Valerie Hughes, 33, of 1148 Strader Drive in Burlington.

James Willie Orr, 65, apologized to the Hughes family in court, saying, "The only thing I can say is I'm sorry and please forgive me."

Hughes was struck around 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at the intersection of South Columbia Street and Mason Farm Road and died the next day at UNC Hospitals.

Orr was placed on administrative leave without pay immediately after the collision and was fired Nov. 3.

The judge sentenced Orr to a 45-day suspended sentence, 100 hours of community service and said Orr may be required to speak about his experience. He will also lose his license for a year under regulations set out by the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

Hughes’ family has hired a lawyer. Attorney Octavis White said if the family decides to file suit, both the Town of Chapel Hill and Orr will be named as defendants.