Husband Sues in Fatal Accident

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The husband of an Alexandria woman who was struck and killed by a Metrobus in downtown Washington last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court yesterday, seeking $100 million in damages from the transit agency.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was brought by Gregory Schoenborn, whose wife, Martha Stringer Schoenborn, 59, was crossing Pennsylvania Avenue NW with a friend and co-worker about 6:40 p.m. Feb. 14 when they were struck by a bus turning left from northbound Seventh Street.

The two women, employees of the Federal Trade Commission, were in the crosswalk and had the "Walk" sign, authorities said. The friend, Sally Dean McGhee, 54, also of Alexandria, died at the scene. Schoenborn was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where she was treated for "multiple blunt impact and crushing injuries" before she died about a half-hour after she was struck, according to the lawsuit.

The Metrobus driver, Victor Kolako, 53, of Southeast Washington, has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide and was fired last week. At a March 8 hearing in D.C. Superior court, a detective testified that two witnesses said the driver failed to look to his left before turning.

The incident was one of three Metrobus accidents that have resulted in four pedestrian deaths since January. Metro officials have announced short- and long-term measures to improve safety training and recruitment of bus drivers.

The lawsuit, which alleges wrongful death and negligence on the part of the bus driver and the transit agency, said the driver failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian and failed to apply the brakes in a timely manner, among other failures.

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