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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vigil Mourns TriMet Crash Victims, Families Speak Out

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Dozens of people gathered last night at NW Glisan and Broadway for a candlelit vigil mourning the death of 22-year-old Danielle Sale and 26-year-old Jenee Hammel, who were killed Saturday night when a TriMet bus plowed into them while they crossed the street. Hammel leaves behind a 2-year-old son in Vancouver.

According to The Oregonian, the group of five friends was laughing as they left Harvey's comedy club just before midnight, crossing the street with the walk signal to reach their parked car. No one had more than two drinks, says victim Ryan Hammel's father. Police investigators do not believe the TriMet driver, Sandi Day, was drunk or speeding, nor do they suspect she was using her cell phone. But for some reason, Day turned her number nine bus left into the crowd of pedestrians. From the O:

Stephen Radie, 34, of Aloha, was in his car with his wife and friends when they heard screams and saw people running out of the intersection.

Radie parked his car, then dashed to the scene. One woman was trapped under the rear tire of the bus and a woman knelt next to her. He said the woman appeared to have already died.

Radie then walked to the front of the bus and saw two other people trapped. A woman was pressed against the front tire, and a man lay wounded next to her. The woman died, Radie said. And the man was clearly suffering and not alert.

"Help is coming," Radie said to them. "Hold on."

Emergency crews had to jack up the bus to remove Robert Erik Gittings, who is still in critical condition. Sale and Hammel died at the scene.

On KGW, Sale's father showed some obvious anger, saying, "These bus drivers just got to pay attention. Too many people are getting in accidents." Sale was a nursing student in Vancouver.

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