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Friday, August 27, 2010

TriMet Bus Driver in Fatal Crash Fired

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 3:24 PM

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  • Photo by the One True Bix
TriMet this afternoon announced it had dismissed Sandi Day, the driver behind the wheel of a bus that plowed into a group of pedestrians while turning left, killing two and injuring three others.

Day, hired in October 2007, was driving the #9 bus down Glisan on April 24 when she turned onto NW Broadway without seeing the pedestrians, who had a walk sign, in the crosswalk. It was just before midnight, and Danielle Sale, 22, and Jeneé Hammel, 26, had left Harvey's Comedy Club downtown with Robert Erik Gittings, 22, and Hammel's brother and sister-in-law, Ryan and Jamie Hammel. Sale and Jenee Hammel were killed in the crash.

A Multnomah County grand jury found Day responsible for the crash but did not charge her criminally. Instead, Day received several traffic tickets.

TriMet's announcement noted "two internal accident review panels, as well as an independent external review all deemed the accident as preventable under National Safety Council guidelines." Day has said she was attempting to make a courtesy stop on Broadway for an elderly passenger when she struck the group. She was filling in on the #9 route for another driver, but had driven the route before.

Day was placed on paid administrative leave the first two months after the crash but then received worker's compensation. TriMet has since banned courtesy stops in conditions like those in the April crash: "In the same block as a left turn, in areas without standard block lengths and when there is less than 100 feet per lane change to make the turn."

Since 1988, TriMet bus crashes have killed 32 Portlanders—10 of them pedestrians.

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