Bus driver's name released in fatal crash

Bus struck, killed a pedestrian who was crossing University Avenue on Dec. 30

Police have released the name of the bus driver whose bus struck and killed a pedestrian in downtown Palo Alto on Dec. 30.

The driver, Morena Artiga, 49, was allegedly driving a San Mateo County Transit (SamTrans) bus south on Webster Street and turning onto University Avenue when she struck Sheena Marie Barker, 52, of Cupertino. Barker was walking north and crossing University Avenue when the collision happened.

The bus dragged Barker for a portion of the block before coming to a stop between Webster and Middlefield Road.

Artiga was crying hysterically after the collision and was transported to Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City with hypertension, police said.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

There are crosswalks without WALK/DON'T WALK controls on all four sides of that intersection.

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Posted by Willie
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I am so sad for every person involved in this tragedy in even the most remote way. I am NOT implying that Ms. Barker was on her cell phone or smart phone or otherwise engrossed in something other than crossing the street, but:

I am disgusted by the large majority of pedestrians in downtown Palo Alto who brazenly and idiotically charge into the street without so much as a glance ahead or sideways. Bipeds may have the right-of-way, but what is that worth if they are struck?

I walk and drive near University. This blatant craziness needs to stop.

Again, I'm so sorry for everyone's pain.

Like this comment
Posted by blame the victim
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I cannot believe how many people are willing to blame the victim with no evidence that she was doing anything immoral or illegal or improper. All the evidence that I have read indicate that the bus driver was negligent.

Like this comment
Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Japanese Kamikaze drivers and suicidal pedestrians are kept separate by using "scramble walks". All lights red for cars and peds walk in all directions, then green for cars on the first street, then green for cars the second street and then all red for all cars and peds then "scramble" again. Cars and peds never share the streets.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm

"I am disgusted by the large majority of pedestrians in downtown Palo Alto who brazenly and idiotically charge into the street..."

As a veteran live-in downtown pedestrian, I'm appalled at those suicidal foolhardies. Drivers routinely "clip the red" and start through an intersection just as the cross street's light turns green, many with cell to ear. Walkers must always assume drivers aren't looking out for them, or often even aware of them. They will be correct enough to live another day.

A police bike patrol is all we need to discipline these lawless red light runners. The cop would easily catch up to the perp at the next red light, where she/he will usually have to stop because someone ahead of them did. The first nab pays for the bike; the rest help relieve our budget crisis. All of them convey the message. Why not just do it?

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Posted by Pat
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Three years ago a pedestrian was killed by a bus making the same turn. The City of Palo Alto should have immediately eliminated the left turn lane for cars heading southeast on University Ave. and prohibitted left turns. Then they could have widened the northwest bound lane to the left and eliminated parking on the right of the northwest bound lane. That would make it easier for buses to make the left turn without cheating. The buses aren't hiting pedestrians head on. They are catching pedestrians at their left rear wheel when they try to cut the corner when no one is in the southeast facing left turn lane. Widen the northwest bound lane and bus drivers won't need to cut the corner to make the turn.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I had a nasty senior citizen scream epithets at me downtown when I rolled up in my car at an intersection & was starting to cross when she violated the red light & crossed illegally. Dangerous, moronic behavior. There is too much fast driving downtown & too many pedestrians & cyclists behaving like they left their brains at home. The best solution is to slow down & make traveling safely your priority, be you a cyclist, driver, pedestrian. Ditto Sanford campus.

This accident was heartbreaking & I can't even imagine what the victim's family is going through. Knowing that intersection well, my personal suspicion is that the bus driver was in the wrong, but I didn't witness it.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm

It is very easy to speculate when we were not there. However, we have a scenario with two green lights which should not give two separate rights of way at the same time.

How about this scenario, the light turns green and the bus moves forward to make a turn and sees no pedestrians already in the crosswalk. A pedestrian arrives and sees the green light and crosses without noticing that the bus is already starting to turn and not realising that the back end of the bus will hit anyone in the crosswalk who isn't paying attention. The pedestrian is then hit by the back of the bus and falls under the back wheel.

I was not at the scene. I have no idea if the bus driver was paying attention. I have no idea if the pedestrian was paying attention.

I do know that it is always foolish to cross a street as a pedestrian without paying attention to vehicles. Too many pedestrians assume too much. A bus is a long vehicle and if it has already started its turn it is very hard to see anyone who may step out late.

I am only speculating, but we don't know what happened because we have not heard from any witnesses.

My heart goes out to the family of the victim and also to the driver who is also paying for this accident and will continue to do so for the rest of her life. This was her livelihood and what will she do now?

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:48 am

I agree with the first post about no WALK/DON'T WALK signals.

It is clear that downtown Palo Alto is one of those areas where people are trying to get in, get somewhere, find a parking space, or get out and there is plenty of room for human error.

I think it would help to dis-allow right turns on red, and put WALK/DON'T WALK signals ... and whatever happened to buttons to cross the street.

The thought of this terrible accident really makes me feel so sad. Surely we can do better?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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