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Eyewitness to Bus Accident in Uphams Corner 2/10/14

On Monday morning, February 10, Max MacCarthy, walking along Columbia Rd heading towards his office, suddenly found himself seconds from a tragic accident.The noise and the screams told him instantly that a pedestrian had been hit by a bus.  He and the crowd that quickly gathered served as a volunteer team helping out until the police and medics arrived.  Max took note of the many details - the sequence of events and how the emergency was handled and was willing to share his story.

MBTA Bus Accident Except for the initial moment of impact, Max MacCarthy, Executive Director of Uphams Corner Main Street, was an eyewitness to the MBTA bus accident on Monday, February 10, 2014.

Max and a companion were walking on the right side of Columbia Rd in front of Alex and Ann's Hair Salon when, sudden, they heard a noise.  Max said it was hard to describe but it sounded like a "smack."  He knew the problem was serious when he heard people screaming, pointing and shouting, "No!" and "Oh, no!"

"I didn't see it but I knew immediately that someone had gotten hit and it sounded horrible."

Max and his companion ran to the intersection.  Someone shouted, "Call 911." They found a woman lying face down in the crosswalk, not moving.  She had a hoodie on so they were unable to determine much about her race, age or even condition.  One thing he did notice was her leg. 

"It looked like her leg was mangled, like the bus had run over it. The leg was pointed the wrong way and flat.  It's almost as if the bus hit her legs and then her face smashed to the ground."  Max assumed she had been knocked unconscious.  He also noticed there was a lot of blood gathering
around her legs.

Had he tried to help her in any way? "No," Max said, "I did not try to pick her up or touch her in anyway. I was very scared. You're not supposed to do anything to alter the scene of an accident and I could have been doing something to make her situation worse."

Bystanders Take Action

 A small crowd gathered, maybe 10 people and, like a team spontaneously set in motion, they began acting to protect her, to call for help and to enhance the safety of the area.

One person ran across the street to Sovereign Bank where he retrieved a safety cone and set it on the side of the woman.  Max's companion immediately called 911 while other people in cars close by did the same. "And people from Dorchester Bay looking out the window also called."

Another person from the crowd, a woman, knelt down on the street next to the victim and began talking to her. "That's when she moved her head a little but she didn't look up at all. The woman was saying prayers to her."

Max talked about the bus driver, "He was young guy, and he was hysterical. When the accident occurred, he stopped his bus in the middle of the street. I told him he should move the bus over to the side so the people could get through and the police could come."

"Time seemed to stand still. It's hard to know how long it took for the ambulance to get there, but it wasn't long. When the EMT's arrived, the first thing they did was pull her hoodie back to look at her face. One thing was clear it was an older woman."

"The EMT's transported her away and the police came and they cordoned off the area with yellow tape."

Max talked about how the crossing signals are set up in the main Uphams Corner intersection and why they are so dangerous.  "When you have a walk signal to cross Columbia Rd, vehicles from Dudley Street have a yield.  But pedestrians only see the red light from the other direction so they think they can safely cross.  They don't think about cars turning through the crosswalk from both Dudley St and Stoughton St.  The walk signal and the crosswalk make you think you are safe when you're really not."

Max said he is hoping the Public Works street improvements scheduled for this spring will include a signal setting that gives the pedestrians a chance to cross safely in all directions with no vehicle movement allowed.

News Story Covering Accident

Posted: February 12, 2014     Nancy J Conrad

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