MONTGOMERY FATALITY

Pedestrian Was In Crosswalk When Bus Struck Him

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Montgomery County police said yesterday that a 38-year-old Rockville man who died after being struck by a Metrobus in Rockville on Monday night was in a crosswalk when he was hit.

Tao Sun was crossing Parklawn Drive near Twinbrook Parkway when he was struck shortly after 6:30 p.m., police said. Sun, who Metro officials initially said was not in a crosswalk, was the fifth pedestrian killed this year after being hit by a Metrobus.

Police said the bus driver, Travis McDuffie, 24, of Hyattsville, was heading north on Parklawn Drive when the accident occurred. Sun was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

McDuffie, who has been employed as a Metrobus driver since January, was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of routine drug and alcohol tests and the outcome of the police investigation. There were no passengers on the bus when Sun was hit.

McDuffie remained at the scene after the accident, said Lt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman. No charges have been filed, and investigators will spend the next few days determining what led to the accident and whether anyone was at fault, police said.

Metro officials said yesterday that personnel at the scene initially told them that Sun was not in the crosswalk at the time of the incident.

Metro officials said the 2000 Orion Metrobus is not equipped with a camera, unlike many others in the fleet. Metrobus operators are being asked to take a safety refresher course this year partly as a result of three accidents last winter that killed four pedestrians.

"This is a really tragic event," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. "Safety is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with Montgomery County police, and we will incorporate anything we learn into any training program so that we can prevent future accidents."

Sun was the 16th pedestrian killed in the county this year. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is expected to announce a pedestrian safety plan today.

Staff writer Lena Sun and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.


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