UI officials unsure how to proceed after Cambus accident



View Larger Map
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

University of Iowa officials aren't sure how they'll move forward with improving campus safety after a Cambus hit a 20-year-old pedestrian Thursday morning.

Iowa City police officers said the accident took place just after 10 a.m. Thursday. The Cambus was reportedly southbound on Madison Street and struck the woman as she entered the crosswalk at the intersection of Madison and Washington Streets.

The incident cracked the bus's windshield and the woman was reportedly conscious when officers arrived and was taken away in an ambulance. No update on her condition was available Thursday night, and authorities have not yet released the subject's name.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the crash is still under investigation. The woman received significant injuries, and she is undergoing treatment at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Campus authorities say safety is a priority, but they're not sure what, if any, recourse will come from Thursday's crash.

"We'll need to await the outcome of the investigation," said UI spokesman Tom Moore.
Cambus manager Brian McClatchey said there will be extensive conversation among Cambus officials.

"Certainly as a group, the management will sit and discuss what happened here, and if there's anything additional we need to do regarding pedestrian safety," McClatchey said. "Our initial reaction is that it wasn't gross negligence by the driver. There's a lot of info for us yet to learn."

McClatchey said students go through an extensive, three-step training period in order to obtain a commercial driver's license, which is necessary to drive the Cambus.

"It's a very involved and fairly lengthy process," he said about the nearly 50 hours of training required.

McClatchey, who has been at the UI for 24 years, said Thursday's accident is only the second or third he's seen that has required medical attention.

"They're very rare," he said. "We've averaged fewer than one a year."

Pedestrian accidents are also rare at other state universities.

Spencer Walrath, the president of the University of Northern Iowa's student government, was shocked when he heard about Thursday's incident. UNI operates the Panther Shuttle, a free transportation service for students that is very similar to the Cambus but run by the student government.

"I've been here for five years, and I've never known of an accident," Walrath said.

Pedestrian safety is also a big concern for Iowa City residents and UI employees.

UI library assistant Donald Baxter said he regularly advocates for pedestrian and cyclist rights on campus and complains weekly about the Cambus.

"Cambus drivers drive too fast," he said. "They're not mindful of pedestrians. They're dismissive and need to change their whole attitude toward operating the bus."

He said he hopes Thursday's incident will be a wake-up call for the UI campus.

"Pedestrians have rights, and drivers have responsibilities," Baxter said. "[The drivers] act like the enemy."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.