A man killed Thursday night beneath a turning bus in busy South Lake Union apparently walked into the rear half of the articulated vehicle, then fell into the back wheels, according to Sound Transit.

Share story

A man killed Thursday night beneath a turning bus in busy South Lake Union apparently walked into the rear half of the articulated vehicle, then fell into the back wheels, according to Sound Transit.

The transit operator didn’t realize what happened until she traveled several blocks into downtown, and was alerted by a dispatcher, officials said. The collision was reported by a nearby streetcar operator.

The tragedy happened about 9 p.m. at Blanchard Street and Westlake Avenue.

Thursday’s incident involved a Sound Transit 554 bus, leaving its rest-stop area along eastbound-only Blanchard Street to start a trip through downtown and out to Issaquah.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

The bus turned right onto southbound Westlake — where the route is even sharper than a right-angle turn, degrading sight lines for all users. The 43-year-old pedestrian was walking across Westlake, going west to east.

The bus driver involved is a 30-year veteran with an excellent safety record, agencies say. Her only past incidents involved sideswiping a mailbox cluster, and a tree limb, more than a decade ago, according to Scott Gutierrez, spokesman for King County Metro Transit, which operates many Sound Transit Express routes.

A cause for Thursday’s collision has yet to be determined by Seattle police, who had no further details to release Friday. The bus driver and witnesses have been interviewed by major-collision detectives, said police spokesman Mark Jamieson. The driver showed no signs of impairment, police have said.

A parallel investigation is underway by Metro’s safety division, which typically examines injury incidents to consider possible internal discipline or safety reforms.

Seattle recently installed a pedestrian crossing signal just uphill at Denny Way and Terry Avenue, where people formerly skittered across four lanes of moving cars.

The city’s Vision Zero program officially purports to end traffic casualties by 2030, but activists often argue efforts are too weak. Seattle ranks among the nation’s safest walking cities, but five pedestrians and three bicyclists were killed last year, data show.