By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
A woman was struck by a Metrobus and critically injured Monday night in the Trinidad area of Northeast Washington, authorities said.
The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Washington Hospital Center with life-threatening injuries, a Metro spokesman said.
Although full details of the incident were not known, it occurred at a time of heightened concern about safety on Metro's bus and rail systems.
In Monday's incident, the woman had just gotten off the D-8 Metrobus on Mount Olivet Road NE, between Trinidad and Montello avenues. She apparently crossed in front of that bus and then was struck about 6:30 p.m. by another Metrobus traveling in the same direction, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.
Two men who said they witnessed the incident told television stations that the woman was thrown a distance down the street, and appeared to be unconscious after being struck. One of the men said that after the woman was hit, the driver of one of the buses "got down" and prayed.
On-air pictures taken after the incident showed several items in the road, including a jacket, a purse and a pair of red shoes. People who saw the woman said she appeared to be in her 40s or 50s.
D.C. police and the transit agency were investigating the incident, Taubenkibel said. The driver of the second bus will be suspended pending the outcome of drug and alcohol tests, as is routine in such cases, he said.
The driver, who was not identified, has been employed by Metro since March 2008, Taubenkibel said.
It was not clear Monday night where the injured woman was going or where she was coming from, and it was not immediately known whether there was a crosswalk at the site.
The D-8 route runs between Union Station and medical facilities in the Washington Hospital Center area.
During the evening rush hour, some of the buses end their routes at the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro rail station. The woman had been on one of those buses. The bus that struck her was apparently headed toward the usual end of the line.
The section of the city where Monday's incident occurred is near Mount Olivet Cemetery and the northeastern edge of Gallaudet University.
Monday night's incident was the second in little more than a month in which a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by a Metrobus.
A 30-year-old jogger was critically injured Sept. 3 on Connecticut Avenue when she was hit by a bus headed east on Florida Avenue.
The jogger, Amanda Mahnke, has improved, a relative said last night.
The driver of the bus in that incident was discharged by Metro for "failing to follow standard operating procedures."
Metro officials have said they are reviewing policies and procedures for bus operations.
Most of the safety problems faced by Metro this year have involved the rail system. Eight passengers and a train operator were killed June 22 in a crash on the Red Line.
Three other workers were killed on the job. In the most recent incident, an employee died Sept. 14, four days after being struck by a train.
Questions of safety on the bus system have arisen before.
In 2007, three pedestrians were struck and killed by Metrobuses in two incidents over four days.
News reports indicated that at least five pedestrians were killed that year when struck by Metrobuses.
Staff writer James Hohmann contributed to this report.