By James Hohmann and Yamiche Alcindor
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
A 61-year-old woman struck Monday by a Metrobus in Northeast Washington died Tuesday afternoon, D.C. police said, the latest death in a series of recent tragedies for the transit agency.
Authorities said Stephanie Richardson, who lived in the 1600 block of 11th Place NE, was pronounced dead at 4:10 p.m. at Washington Hospital Center less than 24 hours after a bus struck her as she tried to cross Mount Olivet Road NE in the Trinidad area.
Richardson was the first person killed by a Metrobus since September 2008, but it was the second high-profile Metrobus accident in a little more than a month. A 30-year-old jogger was critically injured Sept. 3 north of Dupont Circle. Richardson had just gotten off the D8 Metrobus between Trinidad and Montello avenues and was crossing in front of that bus when she was struck about 6:30 p.m. by another Metrobus traveling in the same direction on the four-lane road, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.
Her husband, Russell Richardson, said she worked as a clerical assistant at a D.C. motel. She always rode the bus to and from work, he said.
The 72-year-old mechanic said he had spent the past day at the bedside of "the good-looking woman" who captured his heart one day as he rode the Metro to work. The two had been married since 2001.
"She was the best person," Richardson said. "She talked all the time. Everyone knew her."
Stephanie Richardson attended church every Sunday and watched an evangelist on TV every morning, he said.
The Metrobus driver, whom the transit agency declined to name, is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, as is standard. He has been driving buses for Metro since March 2008, the transit agency said. Taubenkibel declined to say whether the driver has been involved in other on-duty accidents. The D.C. Police Major Crash Investigations Unit is probing the accident.
Metro has recorded a deadly four months: Nine people were killed and 80 injured in a June 22 rail crash; a Metro worker was killed by a gravel-spreading machine; a subcontractor was electrocuted at a bus garage; and another Metro employee was fatally struck by a train.
Metro said late Tuesday that it is reissuing a bulletin about pedestrian safety to each of its more than 2,400 bus drivers. A statement said the bulletin will "remind them to be mindful of all pedestrians and be prepared to stop and yield to anyone who looks like they are about to cross a street, even if they are not in a crosswalk."
"Once our investigation is complete, we will incorporate what we learn into our safety and training programs to help prevent future accidents," Metro Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis said in the statement.
Staff writers Lena H. Sun and Martin Weil and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.