By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Metro yesterday fired the bus driver who struck and killed two pedestrians in downtown Washington on Valentine's Day, officials said.
The driver, Victor Z. Kolako, 53, has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide in the incident that took place at Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, one of the city's most dangerous intersections. He faces trial June 8.
At a hearing in D.C. Superior court last week, a detective testified that two witnesses said the driver failed to look to his left before turning from Seventh Street onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
Martha Stringer Schoenborn, 59, and her friend and co-worker, Sally Dean McGhee, 54, were in the crosswalk and had the "walk" sign when they were struck by the bus, on the 54 route to Takoma, about 6:40 p.m. The women, both of Alexandria, were leaving work at the Federal Trade Commission.
Kolako, of Southeast Washington, had worked as a bus driver for Metro since 2000. He was on paid administrative leave until yesterday.
The Feb. 14 incident was one of three Metrobus accidents since January that have resulted in four pedestrian deaths.
After the incidents, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. ordered bus supervisors to meet with drivers one-on-one to reemphasize pedestrian safety and mandated that all drivers receive an annual one- to two-day refresher course.
He also said Metro will begin to monitor drivers for moving violations while on duty by coordinating with the motor vehicle departments of Maryland, Virginia and the District. Catoe said he also wants to increase the number of street supervisors who oversee driver behavior and end the practice of requiring new operators to start part time.