Deadly GRTC accident brings painful memories for former driver

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Last week's fatal bus accident brought back painful memories for one Richmond woman. She is a former GRTC bus driver, who also ran over a pedestrian.

Darlene Daymon says its still difficult to be back at the intersection of 8th and Marshall streets.

"It's something that you will never ever forget," Daymon said. "It's always going to be there. I still have a vision of her in the mirror. As I did that morning. I'll never forget that vision."

On September 21, 2007, Daymon was in a GRTC bus, making a right turn she's made hundreds of times, when the unthinkable happened.

"Couldn't figure out what the crash was. Thought someone may have side swiped the bus. Didn't see a car," Daymon said.

What she saw out her side mirror gives her chills to this day.

"To see a female laying on the ground. Beside the bus. It just shocked me. I could not believe I was in total shock. I couldn't say anything. I couldn't move. Nothing," Daymon said.

The pedestrian had been in the crosswalk and had a walk light. She was severely injured but survived. Seeing it happen again, this time with a fatal result, left Daymon shaken.

"My heart goes out to the family and I know the driver is also going through a lot dealing with this accident and I hope that she does have a strong support person to help her," Daymon said.

Daymon was let go by GRTC shortly after her crash. She was convicted of failure to yield to a pedestrian and went to driving school. She believes a blind spot on her bus contributed to her accident.

"They said while I was turning I should have been looking in that left mirror there," she said. 
"Now I'm here, but she's there. I never saw her because of that fair box. Blocking me. I'm a lot shorter than that driver there."

To this day, she still thinks of the woman she hit, and now she has Teresa Jones and Loucendia Lambert in her prayers.

"She didn't mean to do it and I just hope the public do get a clear understanding of what's going on," Daymon said.

A GRTC spokesperson declined to discuss the details of this particular accident, but she did say, it is another example of how impactful and tragic these crashes are for all the lives involved.

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