UPDATE: Fatal collision between C-Tran bus, pedestrian

By Marissa Harshman , Stephanie Rice and Paul Suarez


Updated: December 2, 2011, 7:12 PM


Did you know?

• By law, drivers who see a pedestrian or bicyclist in a crosswalk must stop if they are in the same lane as the crosser, or the next lane to either side. That gives the pedestrian an extra lane of safety.

• If a motorist comes up behind a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk while someone is crossing, the approaching motorist cannot overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

• Pedestrians or bicyclists cannot suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run or move into the path of a vehicle that is too close to stop.

Source: Vancouver Police Department and state RCW 46.61.

C-Tran statement:

Here's a statement from C-Tran:

At approximately 11:30am this morning, a C-TRAN bus driver on route #4 Fourth Plain was involved in a pedestrian accident resulting in one fatality, at the intersection of 8th and Washington Streets. At this time, C-TRAN is fully cooperating with the Vancouver Police Department and will refrain from making further comments regarding the details of the accident until the Vancouver Police Department’s investigation is complete. “All of us at C-TRAN wish to express our heartfelt sympathy for the loss of life in this morning’s unfortunate accident. Safety has always been a hallmark of C-TRAN’s commitment to our community, and we are deeply saddened by such a regrettable accident” expressed C-TRAN Executive Director/CEO Jeff Hamm.

In accordance with standard C-TRAN procedure, driver Al Purvis, a 17-year C-TRAN veteran, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

photoPolice, firefighters and paramedics respond to a fatal accident involving a pedestrian and a C-Tran bus at the intersection of 8th Street and Washington Street in downtown Vancouver, Friday, December 2, 2011. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)

(/The Columbian)

photoC-Tran driver Al Purvis sits on the steps of his bus after Friday's fatal accident. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)

(/The Columbian)

A woman died Friday morning after being struck by a C-Tran bus in downtown Vancouver.

The crash occurred just before 11:30 a.m. when the westbound bus turned left from Eighth Street onto Washington Street and struck the woman on the crosswalk at the south side of the intersection, said Kim Kapp, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department. The woman’s identity wasn’t released on Friday.

Vancouver police blocked streets in the area for several hours while firefighters secured the bus and the traffic unit investigated the crash.

Vancouver Paramedic-firefighter Kevin Stromberg said the first call came into the fire department at 11:29 a.m. and the first responder arrived three minutes later.

The pedestrian was trapped under the wheels of the No. 4 bus, which travels between the Westfield Vancouver mall and Delta Park.

 The paramedic saw that the victim was dead and requested the department’s technical rescue team. Members are trained to handle all types of extraction, Stromberg said.

Passengers were taken off the bus and interviewed by police near the intersection.

Taryn Park was riding the bus with her fiancé, Eugene Kelly. Park frequently uses the No. 4 bus to get to work at the Target in Jantzen Beach.

“I can’t even breathe,” Park said after the incident. “I guess my quote of the day is, ‘Never take life for granted.’ ”

Kelly said he was shaken after the ordeal.

Passengers and people passing by lingered in the area, watching police and firefighter activity and talking about what happened. Emergency personnel set up tarps around the scene of the accident.

The recovery of the body would be handled as discreetly as possible given the fact that bystanders were watching from the corners of the intersection, Stromberg said.


Police do not know whether the pedestrian had a green light when she was hit, Kapp said.

The traffic signals in the area are automatic, meaning there is no button for pedestrians to push to request to cross the street.

In a released statement, C-Tran officials said the agency is “fully cooperating” with the investigation. The bus driver, Al Purvis, was placed on paid administrative leave — which is standard C-Tran procedure — pending the outcome of the investigation. Purvis is a 17-year veteran with the agency.

“All of us at C-Tran wish to express our heartfelt sympathy for the loss of life in this morning’s unfortunate accident,” C-Tran executive director Jeff Hamm said in the statement. “Safety has always been a hallmark of C-Tran’s commitment to our community, and we are deeply saddened by such a regrettable accident.”

Fatal accidents are rare in C-Tran’s 30-year history. The last such crash occurred in 2002, when a C-Tran bus was involved in a multi-vehicle pileup on Andresen Road that killed a Brush Prairie man.

In April 2010, Danielle Sale, 22, of Vancouver and her friend Jenee Hammel, 26, of Gresham, Ore., were killed by a TriMet bus while crossing a street in downtown Portland. Three others were injured in the collision.

The pedestrians were struck by the bus as they walked in the crosswalk on Northwest Broadway at Glisan Street. They had a “walk” signal and the right of way.

Since Sale’s death, her father, David Sale, has campaigned for TriMet to make changes to improve driver training and safety.