TriMet turns over video in fatal bus crash


by and Associated Press

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 9:07 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Video from a TriMet bus that struck five pedestrians at a downtown intersection, killing two, has been turned over to police investigators, a TriMet spokesman said Monday.

"We've given them the video," Fetsch said. "The driver is cooperating. We really want them to have all the information we can give them so they can round out their investigation." Officials cautioned that it could take days to find out what went wrong shortly before midnight Saturday at a lighted intersection in downtown Portland.

The TriMet bus ran over a group of pedestrians crossing a NW Portland street Saturday night, killing two women and injuring three other people. 

Police said the bus was turning left from NW Glisan Street onto NW Broadway Boulevard when it hit the people crossing Broadway, just before midnight Saturday. Officers arriving at the scene found three people trapped beneath the bus. Police said the walk signals were green when the pedestrians entered the street.

Two of the three died at the scene. On Sunday police identified the two victims as Jenee Hammel, a 26-year-old from Gresham (pictured at left), and 22-year-old Danielle Sale (pictured, below left) of Vancouver.

 Robert Erik Gittings, a 22-year-old from Idaho also was pinned underneath the bus. On Sunday evening Gittings remained listed in critical condition at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital.

Two others to receive minor injuries included Ryan Hammel and his wife, Jamie of Portland. Hammel was the older brother of the deceased victim, Jenee, according to police.

Speed did not appear to be a factor in causing the accident, police said, but there were several witnesses yet to be interviewed and a Major Crash Scene investigation had been launched.

The bus driver, Sandi Day, 48, was hired by TriMet in 2007 and she has now been placed on paid administrative leave, per procedure. Day took a drug test after the deadly incident, which was also standard procedure, according to TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch.

"You couldn't help them," witness Steve Radie said. "The only thing you could do was talk and try to comfort them."

Friends and family are grieving the deaths of two women killed by the bus. On Monday, the father of one of the women lashed out at TriMet drivers in an interview with KGW. "These bus drivers just got to pay attention," said David Sale. " Too many people are getting in accidents."

Driver was filling in

“On Saturdays she [Day] typically works the ‘extra board,’ which means she works various routes to fill in for openings due to vacations, sick employees, etc. She has driven this route before,” Fetsch said.

Day was said to be cooperating with authorities and no arrests have been made.

Fetsch said Day was beginning the Line 9-Powell/Broadway route when the incident occurred and there were no passengers on the bus.

Police planned to reconstruct the scene of the accident and speak with everyone who witnessed it prior to any charges being filed. 

Since 1988, 30 people have died in incidents involving TriMet buses.

KGW Reporters Randy Neves and Katherine Cook contributed to this report.