ATA releases fatal bus crash video; witness relives final moments with victim
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Surveillance video from an ATA bus released on Wednesday shows the 21-year-old bus driver had no way to avoid hitting a pedestrian that ran in front of her on Tuesday night. The fatal crash happened on I-35, just north of the I-29 split in the Northland. The Missouri Highway Patrol identified the victim as 40-year-old Charles E. Turman of St. Joseph, Mo.
The video shows Turman running across the Interstate from the east to west, coming into the bus driver’s view just moments before she hit him. It was the driver’s first day on the job.
Jennifer Sisk was on her way home when she saw the accident and immediately pulled over to render aid to Turman.
“I got down and held his hand and said, ‘We’re with you, please keep breathing. Help is on the way,’” said Sisk.
She said there was nothing more she could do and Turman died a short time later. Sisk said it was obvious to her the bus driver was not at fault.
“Absolutely no way she was able to stop,” Sisk said.
Turman’s ex-wife, Jeanette Mitchell, told FOX 4 she spoke to Turman just two hours before he died.
“He was going to be headed this way down to St. Joe so we could be a happy family again, he was just really overwhelmed with it. He said, ‘I will be there.’”
Mitchell believes Turman may have been trying to hitch-hike north. Mitchell said she and her new husband had agreed to let Turman stay with them because she and Turman have three children together and they wanted to help him get back on his feet.
“He was very stubborn, but he was a damn good father, he loved his children. He loved me and he was good friends with my husband,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said Turman had been released from the Linn County, Kansas Jail in October after serving time for unlawful use of a weapon. She added he had recently spent time at a psychiatric hospital in St. Joseph to deal with his bi-polar disorder, but was excited for the opportunity to reunite with his kids.
“If he would’ve told me if he needed a ride, I would’ve got him a ride but he told me not to worry about it. He was going to walk,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell told FOX 4 she appreciates Jennifer Sisk for stopping to hold Turman’s hand before he died.
“You don’t know anybody’s situation, I don’t know his situation and all I could do was go home and pray for him and hope that he’s at peace,” said Sisk.
Missouri Highway Patrol Troopers say Turman smelled of alcohol and prescription pills were found on his body, but they’re waiting on toxicology results to determine if he was under the influence of anything at the time of the accident.