A Cupertino woman was killed in downtown Palo Alto Thursday morning (Dec. 30) after she was struck by a bus while crossing University Avenue.
The victim, 52-year-old Sheena Marie Barker, was walking north and crossing University Avenue on Webster Street at about 10:32 a.m. when she was hit by a SamTrans bus that headed south on Webster and was making a left turn onto University, according to a witness. The bus dragged her before coming to a full stop between Webster and Middlefield Road. There were two passengers on the bus at the time of the collision, police said.
Palo Alto Sgt. Wayne Benitez and Officer Eric Bulatao arrived at the scene within minutes and performed CPR to resuscitate Barker, whose body was wedged between the middle of the bus and the rear tires. Benitez said it became clear fairly quickly that she did not survive the crash.
Glen Firstenberg was in his car preparing to pull out onto University behind the bus when he saw a red grocery bag lying in the middle of the crosswalk. He then noticed Barker under the bus and told the driver to stop the bus, he told the Weekly.
The driver didn't immediately realize she hit Barker, Firstenberg said.
"She was devastated when she found out," he said.
Another witness, who declined to give his name, said Barker was crossing the street on a green light when the bus made the left turn and hit her.
Shortly before 11 a.m., the bus driver -- crying hysterically -- was transported by a gurney to an ambulance and then taken to Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City with hypertension. Police Tuesday (Jan. 4) identified the bus driver as Morena Artiga, 49, a resident of San Pablo.
Barker's red Whole Foods bag, its contents spilling out, remained in the crosswalk while Palo Alto police and officers from San Mateo County Sheriff's Transit Police Bureau investigated the scene. She was wearing hospital scrubs and is a traveling nurse who works at various hospitals in the area, Palo Alto police Lt. Sandra Brown said.
The Thursday crash was the fourth major accident in Palo Alto in the past two-and-half weeks and the second recent fatal crash downtown. On Dec. 18, Rune Nielsen, a 25-year-old Danish national who was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, died after crashing into a tree on Middlefield, near Hawthorne Avenue. This happened a day after a 24-year old male suffered serious injuries after he drove into a light pole and a tree on San Antonio Road.
Earlier this week, a man and a woman in their late 70s suffered major injuries after their car hit a tree on Foothill Expressway.