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Metro Bus Fatally Hits Passenger in East Bellevue

A King County Metro Bus fatally struck a 48-year-old woman after she got off the bus this evening on Northup Way at Northeast 10th Street, east of Crossroads. The area is expected to be shut for several hours.

A 48-year-old woman was struck fatally by a King County Metro Transit bus Thursday evening, moments after she said goodbye to the driver and her fellow passengers and got off the bus, the Bellevue Police Department said.

Northup Way was expected to be shut for several hours as Bellevue Police investigated, Bellevue Police spokeswoman Officer Carla Iafrate said.

It appears that the woman was a regular passenger on the bus Route 226, which circles around downtown Bellevue, Bel-Red Road and Crossroads, and the driver let her off at her stop just after 6:30 p.m. on southbound Northup Way at Northeast 10th Street, according to police and Metro Transit officials. 

The woman said goodbye to the driver and to the three other passengers on the bus, who all saw each other regularly, Iafrate said.

The driver told police that as he started to drive away, he heard a thump and stopped the bus, and found that the passenger had been struck, Iafrate said.

Bellevue police and medics arrived immediately and performed CPR, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Iafrate said.

The investigation of how the collision happened continues, she said.

Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor, but the driver is being tested for substances as part of the normal investigation procedures, Iafrate said.

The driver, who has been driving buses for Metro for 25 years, was transported to Overlake Hospital Medical Center for testing and also for emotional distress, said Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke.

"He was so upset and it was shocking," she said.

The Washington State Patrol also will do a commercial vehicle inspection, Iafrate said.

King County Metro Transit is cooperating with Bellevue police and will conduct its own investigation of the incident, said Thielke.

"This is terrible. It sounds like she was a regular rider, and it's just terrible," she said. "Metro's number one priority is safety. It comes before schedule, it comes before being on time.

"Everyone's just so sad about this," she said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of the story indicated the incorrect route number.

Kathleen Moss March 16, 2012 at 10:58 AM
So sorry for her family and their loss..... and for the driver as well. God bless them all.
Venice Buhain March 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
An update: we've put up a new story with the King County Medical Examiner's identification of the woman who was struck. http://patch.com/A-rDyn
Nydia White March 26, 2012 at 07:11 PM
While I am very saddened to hear about this tragedy, I am not surprised. I have noticed Metro buses being driven very aggressively and sometimes carelessly. Last week in one day I had to swerve to avoid being hit by Metro buses that had either drifted out of their lanes or had cut corners on a turn. All of the close calls happened so quickly that I could not get the number of the bus to report the action.

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