Bus hits Morgan Junction pedestrian – without driver realizing it

We’ve finally been able to talk to police about a crash that got some TV coverage late last night – a woman hit and seriously hurt by the northwest corner of the California/Fauntleroy intersection in Morgan Junction, and there are new details this morning. Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson says the 29-year-old woman was crossing Fauntleroy southbound (between the Zeeks Pizza and Starbucks corners) just before 10 pm when she was hit by a bus turning from southbound California to westbound Fauntleroy. “The driver was unaware of the collision and continued on his route,” Det. Jamieson explains, but once police figured out what happened and notified Metro, the driver stopped – at 35th/Barton – and cooperated with investigators. Whether the driver will be cited, won’t be determined immediately – the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad was called out because the victim has life-threatening injuries. (Note: Since we spoke with police, they have added this to SPDBlotter.)

9:27 AM UPDATE: SPD has just called to clarify one detail: The bus, while operated by Metro, was the Sound Transit 560.

10:18 AM UPDATE: Just talked with Sound Transit spokesperson Geoff Patrick to get a few more details. Per standard procedure, he says, the driver “has been removed from service”; he doesn’t have details yet on driver’s age/length of service/etc. but is working to get that information. The bus was a 40-foot, non-articulated ST bus.

33 Replies to "Bus hits Morgan Junction pedestrian - without driver realizing it"

  • SarahScoot February 4, 2010 (9:30 am)

    Wow, that’s terrifying. I assumed that it was a careless car driver who hit her; I just moved from Morgan Junction and one thing I don’t miss is the completely careless drivers who pull into crosswalks to turn right on red lights. So many drivers only see things that threaten them, aka other cars, and they seem to not even look for pedestrians. I’ve actually been surprised that cars stop for me much more readily at the (uncontrolled) crosswalk by my new home on Avalon than they did at the signal-controlled crosswalks at California/Fauntleroy. Not to mention all the times that I’d stand on the west side of California at Willow waiting to cross to the east side; there was one time I counted over 50 cars go by in each direction before anyone stopped for me.
    Pedestrian safety in that area is truly bad.
    I hope this woman recovers quickly and easily.

  • Meghan February 4, 2010 (9:37 am)

    I don’t know if it’s even relevant to this situation (though it’s hard to imagine a bus driver could hit someone and not even notice!), but I have noticed Metro drivers are getting more and more aggressive in general. They speed through red lights and pull right out in front of people more often it seems. It’s probably because as the roads get more congested, other drivers yield to buses less and less and don’t show them any consideration. Whatever the reasons, it’s definitely dangerous.

  • Velo_nut February 4, 2010 (9:42 am)

    Man I hope she recovers….

    I have had my fair share of run-ins with buses most recently this morning while riding my bike to work. While RIGHT NEXT TO ME, the driver of an articulating Metro bus pulled to the right for a pick up. This pinched me off between the bus and the curb while I ended upon the ground in the parking strip. I know he saw me… we made eye contact as he passed me.

    Lucky I didn’t drag his f#t a$$ off the bus on the next stop.

    I understand their need to stay on schedule but PAY ATTENTION. There are other cars, pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Your job is to transport people, not kill them.

  • aaron February 4, 2010 (9:56 am)

    look, i feel sorry for this lady, but ITS A BUS.. these guys and gals roll around everyday in these big rigs..u have to look out for big vehicles when ur strolling around.. not sure of all the details but dont relate ALL transit drivers with your bad experiences with bad drivers. we all have to share the roads.. cars, pedestrians, transit, trains, cats… do as they do in new york.. look both ways, then run

  • wseye February 4, 2010 (9:58 am)

    WSB: Could you please find out whether this was one of the larger articulated buses? There have been other cases of these oversized vehicles killing people (like the poor UW student crushed about a year ago), where the bus driver was unaware of what happened and kept going. I don’t blame the driver as much as I do the technology, which is just too big for many city streets.

    • WSB February 4, 2010 (10:08 am)

      I’m still straightening out exactly who is accountable for the driver. The county is pointing me at ST, so I’m calling there next, and will see what I can find out about that question.

    • WSB February 4, 2010 (10:17 am)

      Non-articulated 40′ bus. Adding a few things to story after talking to ST spokesperson.

  • John February 4, 2010 (10:14 am)

    Meghan, I so agree with you! I work in downtown Seattle and walk the streets during lunch time. Don’t even think of stepping out into the interstion, even with a ‘WALK’ signal, if a bus is within 20 feet of the intersection. They do NOT stop. I’ve pulled people back on the curb knowing the drivers going to run the light. Very dangerous.

  • buddsmom February 4, 2010 (10:16 am)

    There’s no mention of if the pedestrian was crossing with or against the light. In any case the driver should have been aware of the surroundings.

  • bander February 4, 2010 (10:21 am)

    This is truly a horrible story; I hope she recovers fully and quickly. I’ll be curious to kow the details of what happened.

    You said that you counted 50 cars pass before someone stopped for you. Why do you need someone to stop? Just wait for a break in the traffic then cross. If you need someone to stop for you, then you’re holding up traffic and there are probably cars (or busses) coming in the opposite ditrection. If I am waiting to cross a street, I *HATE IT* when drivers stop for me. It makes me feel like I have to cross before I am ready, making it more dangerous and the stopped driver holds up traffic.

    The rules change when you are in a crosswalk (marked or otherwise) but I still yeid to traffic simply because it’s a battle that I’ll lose when it comes down to it…

  • Jb February 4, 2010 (10:30 am)

    This is a horrible situation. I hope she is okay. I have driven a bus like that. Turning corners in a vehicle like that is a tricky thing. There are a lot of details to look out for. Including the people on the curb etc. The bus is so big and heavy it would be possible to not know you hit something. I would say very unlikely but possible. I am confused how they did not see each other. I wish this woman well.

  • SarahScoot February 4, 2010 (10:34 am)

    bander: yes, if there was a break in the traffic, that’s what I’d do. That’s what I usually did, but this particular time I mentioned there were constantly cars coming from one direction or the other. My only option would have been to cross one directional lane of traffic and wait on the center line for someone to either stop or for a break in cars going the other way. Not practical or safe. Fact is, any intersection is a legal pedestrian crossing, and cars are required to stop as soon as that pedestrian steps into the road. I used to stand there in the bike lane and occasionally was actually given dirty looks and the finger for patiently and legally waiting to cross.

  • Bob February 4, 2010 (10:40 am)

    As a passenger, I’ve seen Metro drivers run red lights because the bus is just going too fast to stop when the yellow light is too short for the bus. A car could stop safely within in those few seconds, but not necessarily a bus, especially a double length bus, going at the speed limit that close to the intersection.

    And as a pedestrian, I don’t always have that realization in mind when I step off the curb.

    It would be safer if SDOT would lengthen the yellow lights at the intersections where Metro drivers frequently end up running the light. The bus drivers can probably tell you which intersections those are.

  • Ya think? February 4, 2010 (11:03 am)

    @jb – I think the reason he might not have seen her was because it was almost 10PM and dark out. Perhaps she was wearing dark clothes too? Perhaps she assumed he did see her? It’s tragic for sure and I hope she recovers quickly. I’m a full-time pedestrian and bus rider. I always assume no one can see me at night and just like defensive driving, you have to be a defensive walker as well.

    • WSB February 4, 2010 (11:10 am)

      Regarding crossing with the light, police do not have that information – it’s all part of what’s under investigation. She WAS in the crosswalk, however, per what they DO know so far.

  • DC February 4, 2010 (12:06 pm)

    I use that cross walk just about daily. At that particular spot, there’s a lot to distract a driver’s eye (2 poles, signs, newspaper stands, tree, building corner). On a different rainy night, I have seen a pedestrian almost get hit at that same spot.

  • mlb February 4, 2010 (12:42 pm)

    Something needs to be done about these Metro drivers.
    They speed, stop on a dime so everyone flies forward, cut you off without any thought and now they just flat out don’t pay attention. They think they own the road.
    We had a 55 resting stop in front of our house and most times our driveway was blocked by the bus while the driver was on break. We had obsenities hurled at us by more than one driver when we asked them to move, so we could use our own driveway. They were on break…period, paragraph.
    On the 55 about a year ago, turning off 35th onto Alaska going westbound. The bus took the turn way too close and hit the car parked at the corner, leaving it’s back bumper hanging. Inside the bus you could hear the crunch and it was felt by the passengers in the back, but the driver kept going even after he had been informed of the situation. He could have cared less, just like MOST Metro drivers…
    Godspeed to the girl hit last night.

  • KatherineL February 4, 2010 (1:19 pm)

    Regarding dark clothes at night – I’ve had some close calls driving. People dressed in dark clothes walk around their cars to get in, very close to traffic. Especially if the car is dark, too, I don’t see them until I’m almost on them. I’m as guilty; my coat is dark and I usually wear dark slacks. I used to wear reflective tape on my clothes when I biked. Maybe we could start a movement to wear reflective armbands after dark?

  • Jamie February 4, 2010 (1:19 pm)

    First of all I hope that this women is ok! Second of all I agree with a lot of you! These drivers are more pushy and so rude. They fly down the road like they dont have people on the bus or on the road. They block up trafic like they own the road! I understand that they drive these HUGE things but come on! Pull off of the road and not block up traffic. Make a solid stop. I live on california ave just south of the junction’s 7-11 and that light can back up traffic for a mile there’s one stop right before the light as soon as they are done with that one stop they get into the turn lane when traffic is backed up which is scary because we have to turn into our garage and cant because they skip all the traffic and go straight to the turn lane thats for us and not the light. I hope that metro gets the point that their drivers are getting way to pushy! Thats all I have to say =) And that really this lady is ok!

  • glendafrench February 4, 2010 (1:44 pm)

    Have you noticed how quickly these days we always go quick to blame? None of us were there. That is a tricky and blind corner. I can see both how the pedestrian might have been concentrating on the other side of the street and how the bus driver could have been concentrating on the turn – and neither could have seen the other. We just don’t know. I’m sure the driver feels absolutely horrible and I really hope the pedestrian will recover. Perhaps one or both of them should have been more vigilant, again I wasn’t there to know. Regardless, in reality sometimes that just isn’t the way it goes. Sometimes in life, ACCIDENTS truly, really happen. Why do we always have to instantly find a scapegoat instead of concentrating on what really needs to happen here: a woman hopefully surviving and recovering physically and a bus driver dealing with what will probably be life-long guilt.

  • lovingws February 4, 2010 (1:52 pm)

    I’ve been riding busses through here for years now. Within the last year, drivers have been getting much more out of control. Not ALL… several are still wonderful. However, there have been several instances of drivers blasting PAST me waiting at the stop. Sometimes I’ve had to wave around like a crazy person, stepping halfway into the road just so the driver would look at the stop to see me and pick me up. Then The rest of the ride is filled with speeding, slamming stops, and cursing from the driver because some car or pedestrian is moving too slow for their schedule. Other times, a speeding driver ignores my pulled request for the next stop… or just wasn’t paying attention. Running red lights…. sometimes from a full stop… is commonplace. I understand The desire to stay on schedule, and oftentimes drivers are harrassed by patrons who don’t take into consideration all the external things out of his/her control…. but safety needs to come first. I sincerely hope for a speedy recovery for the woman who got hit.

    Maybe metro and sound transit will take these things….. and our usual complaints…. more seriously in light of such tragic events.

  • Al February 4, 2010 (2:37 pm)

    If you have a problem with a driver, be sure to note the bus route number and bus number and if possible, a description of the driver. I had several experiences of being cut off by a driver, like velo_nut in the past year and learned a few things from Metro directly in filing a report:

    First I got all the information I could about the bus and CALLED Metro on the spot. After dialing several times to get through the “busy tone” I was put on hold for 15 minutes. A nice Metro rep took my information and was extremely good in asking details about the incident. He wasn’t aware of what a “curb pinch” was. I had to describe it to him several times, and then he seemed to have an “Ah-ha!” moment and was suitably concerned. He verified that my complaint was logged and that it was noted I wanted a call back.

    I told him about a previous incident with a different bus. He looked it up for me and told me that it was “closed.” Noting I had not been contacted by Metro in spite of requesting they do so, the Metro rep apologized and indeed verified that if I had noted I wanted a call back I should have had it. He also verified that the complaint was noted in the driver’s file. Even if there was no reprimand it was a permanent part of the driver’s record with Metro.

    Things I learned:
    *Call Metro directly or keep a copy of your email. If you don’t get a response w/in 7 days, call them back to follow up. The “case” is closed usually w/in two weeks so if you want to make a rebuttal against the driver’s response, it seems as if the onus is on YOU to call Metro.
    *The online complaint system should now be managed by ONE person so there should be more consistency in the responses to complaints than in the past.
    *Calling seemed more gratifying as I was calm enough to present myself as sane and could also give more description than via email. The personal interaction was better and you could make a better case this way – as long as you are calm!
    *The phone line is 24/7. If you get a busy signal, call back. If you are on hold, wait. It’s worth it.

    email reporting:
    phone report: 206-553-3000

  • Westside J. February 4, 2010 (2:47 pm)

    I hope she makes a full, speedy recovery. I’m curious to know who it is.. I’m the same age, and a lot of us grew up here.. I might know her or her family. Either way, I wish her the best.

    I live about a block south of Barton on 35th, I was wondering why that bus was there for so long last night..

  • kamama February 4, 2010 (5:55 pm)

    Any update on the pedestrian?

  • (required) February 4, 2010 (9:05 pm)

    I hope the pedestrian recovers and the driver apologizes. This is probably a mix of driver negligence and another Seattle-ish pedestrian that thinks that all cars (and all other vehicles) just sort of magically stop whenever lights tell them to or when pedestrians decide to enter the roadway. I think it is true that a great many drivers — just look at 35th — go way too fast and are way too inconsiderate as to pedestrians; but I also think that way too many pedestrians around here just think it is their birth right to goand cross that street the moment that ‘walk’ signal goes on — no matter what that traffic’s doing. Pedestrians ought to be watching for cars, not walk lights. I also think people ought not rush to enter judgment on this driver. Admit it, tons of drivers are just plain inattentive while in fact, bus drivers are probably the safest of the lot on the road. OK, I’ve vented, and I hope the pedestrian is OK.

    • WSB February 4, 2010 (9:40 pm)

      Side note: The passenger apparently did survive, according to something I happened onto because it links to us (if you have ever run a website, you know that you get information on “referrals” – other websites linking to yours) – someone identifying herself as a friend of the victim says in an online forum that she’s gone through a few surgeries and has another scheduled next week.

  • Jane February 4, 2010 (10:17 pm)

    To mlb, and others who are so quick to judge the bus drivers:

    Bus drivers don’t think they own the road, they are not out there trying their damndest to make you miserable and try to mow you down. They are people just like you and I. They are doing the best they can at a crappy, dangerous, thankless job. They get beat up, spit on, cursed at, yelled at and called names. They deal with drunks, thiefs, sleepers, punks, etc. Like it or not, buses have the right of way in traffic. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t to make your life miserable, it’s to allow the high occupancy vehicle to go through quickly. None of us know what happened to that poor woman. Until we find out, try to refrain from bashing bus drivers for all the woes in your lives.

  • Johnny Invisible Pedestrian February 5, 2010 (1:12 am)

    “way too many pedestrians around here just think it is their birth right to go and cross that street the moment that ‘walk’ signal goes on”

    Those selfish pedestrians, thinking they have the right to cross the street when the walk signal goes on!

    It’s as if they think the walk signal is there to SIGNAL that PEDESTRIANS have the RIGHT OF WAY!! Ha! Fools.

    I agree with (required)… we’ve got to stand up for the inattentive, inconsiderate, speeding drivers running through lights and walk signals. If we don’t…who will?

  • Jane February 5, 2010 (7:29 am)

    We don’t know yet whether or not the bus driver was speeding through the intersection. Don’t judge before you have the facts, and don’t lump all bus drivers into the “evil” category. Most car drivers are MUCH worse than bus drivers, so quit the bashing.

  • Veteran Wisdom February 10, 2010 (1:10 am)

    Any word on the pedestrian or the investigation?

    • WSB February 10, 2010 (1:16 am)

      The investigation will take months. These types always do. Last I heard about the pedestrian, the friend of hers who posted on an unrelated public forum said she was supposed to have more surgery this past Monday.

  • Ms Bette February 11, 2010 (8:36 am)

    Do you have any updates about the woman? How is she doing? Thanks

  • Bettytheyeti February 17, 2010 (10:09 am)

    Looking for update on the pedestrian and driver. May I remind everyone, she was on the street not the sidewalk when she was hit. That corner is only lit by neon of Zeek sign. That’s my corner, I drive and take the 560. I have seen walkers cross against the light. Good luck seeing someone at night, dressed in black! She was probably not crossing at the cross but farther down by the bus stop which is even darker. She didn’t see the bus? He didn’t see her? Which means he didn’t hit her from the front of the bus. Weird.

Sorry, comment time is over.