RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A female pedestrian was struck and killed by a GRTC bus at 14th and Franklin streets in downtown Richmond this morning around 8 a.m.
An e-mail went out to state workers, confirming the death of one of their employees with the Department of Health.
Richmond Police identified the deceased as Loucendia Reed Lambert, 55, of the 16000 block of Prince George Drive in Disputanta.
We've also learned the bus driver had three years experience. We're told neither she -- nor passengers on the bus -- saw the woman in the road.
"It was pretty chaotic. There was a lot of traffic and people jumping out their cars," said witness Emily Aleshire.
Richmond police tell us a female walking in the intersection of Franklin and 14th streets was run over by the tire of a bus and when they arrived they found that woman underneath the bus.
Before that, Aleshire and other witnesses tried to save the pedestrian who was hit.
"They were trying to get the lady to back up the bus," Aleshire said.
It is unclear where the victim was walking from at the time. That's one question investigators will work to answer in the coming hours.
"Recreating the accident scene, doing a diagram and talking with the witnesses," said Karla Peters, spokesperson for Richmond Police.
GRTC and Richmond police will also use cameras on the bus that captured the accident. Lewis from GRTC, reviewed the tapes this afternoon with police officials.
"We have cameras covering every angle. There is a great deal of evidence," said John Lewis, GRTC Chief Executive Officer. "As the day goes on we will get a more clear picture of what went on," he said.
We have learned the driver of this bus has three years of experience. We're told neither she, nor the passengers on the bus, saw the woman in the road.
GRTC says drivers go through intense traning before they hit the road for service and a refresher every two years.
"Anytime we have an accident, no matter how small, the operator is put back into retraining," Lewis said.
It's an investigation that still has turns to take as onlookers, officals and witnesses think about the life lost in this tragedy.
"I'm a little shook up because I saw her... before she died," Aleshire said.
The last time GRTC had an accident involving a pedestrian hit was two years ago, but that was not a fatal accident.
NBC12 has obtained an email from the commissioner of the State Health Department who sent this out to her team about Lambert:
"While I did not have the privilege to know Lou personally, her colleagues describe her as the kind of co-worker and employee anyone would want working to improve our public's health. She was a compassionate and generous spirit, the kind of person who thought of others and lifted their spirits, despite her own challenges.
Lou's distinctive laugh will be missed greatly on the 8th Floor by her coworkers. We will all miss her as a valued member of our VDH family.
For those co-workers affected by this tragedy, please know we have asked our employee assistance program, Value Options, to provide assistance to our employees. Should you wish to contact them directly, I encourage you to call (866) 725-0602."
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UPDATE: Pedestrian killed by GRTC bus identifiedMore>>
GRTC is closely monitoring the investigation by Richmond police as well as conducting an internal probe of the tragedy. The driver, who has not been identified, is on paid administrative leave until GRTC's internal investigation is complete.More >>