Elderly pedestrian dies after being struck by city bus

Police at the scene of a woman hit by a bus.
Police at the scene of a woman hit by a bus.
Maj. Thomas Nitta
Maj. Thomas Nitta
Phil Kleshick
Phil Kleshick

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A city bus carrying about 45 passengers struck and killed an elderly pedestrian in Chinatown Thursday morning, forcing a two-and-a-half hour closure of a busy intersection while police investigated.

The victim, identified as an 85-year-old woman, was rushed to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition and later died.

The fatality comes on the heels of a deadly year for pedestrians on Oahu.

HPD's chopper took aerial photos of a crash scene, while investigators did their work below. Police say an 85-year-old woman was crossing North Hotel Street at River Street in Chinatown at about 8:30 AM, when an Oahu Transit Services bus plowed into her.

"I looked back and saw that the bus had the green light, and I saw the woman laying down in front of the bus," Phil Kleshick, witness, said.

"As it is right now, we think the female was crossing against the light and the bus had the right of way," Maj. Thomas Nitta, Honolulu Police Department, said.

Kleshick says officers were immediately on the scene, assisting the injured pedestrian.

"It always is frightening when you see that," he said about the crash. "You hate to see it."

No one on the bus was hurt.

Police say the 43-year-old male bus driver submitted to a blood draw to check for alcohol and drugs. Such a test is standard in traffic investigations.

People who work in Chinatown say the area sees a lot of foot traffic during the day, and that not every one walks wisely.

"I see close calls all the time," Kleshick said. "They are always beeping their horn or happening to stop short because people don't pay attention."

Nineteen pedestrians were killed on Oahu's roads last year, compared to 11 in 2009 and 14 in 2008.

Of the 19 who died last year, police say 12 were in a marked crosswalk when they were hit. Seven of the 11 pedestrians killed in 2009, and 10 of the 14 in 2008, were also using a crosswalk.

"Pedestrians and bicyclists, they should also be aware that they are sharing the road with other people, too," Nitta said. "While you might have the right of way, it's better to be alive than say, you know, I had the right of way."

Police do not believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.

The passengers were transferred to another bus and continued on their way.

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