CINCINNATI – The driver of a Metro bus that struck and killed a pedestrian and injured his daughter in Hyde Park Square Wednesday night is the chaplain of the Cincinnati Fire Department.
Rev. Tyrone Patrick declined an interview with WCPO, saying he can't comment because of the ongoing investigation. Patrick, 57, read the Funeral Intercessional for FAO Daryl Gordon at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral last April.
Police said Patrick made an improper left turn and hit the two victims in a crosswalk. Stephen Frank, 73, was killed and Emily Frank, 41, was transported to a hospital. They were hit about 8 p.m. at the intersection of Edwards Road and Erie Avenue, according to the police report.
The bus was southbound on Edwards and turned left onto Erie as the Franks walked south across Erie, with their backs to the bus.
Cincinnati Police Lt. Bruce Hoffbauer said Patrick voluntarily gave a blood sample. Hoffbauer said there was no sign of impairment on his part.
Police are reviewing video from the bus and gathering information to present to the Hamilton County prosecutor to see if any charges will be filed.
"It's very clear, but we want to tighten up these loose ends before we put blame on any one person or persons," Hoffbauer said.
Patrick also serves as chaplain for Colerain Township Fire and EMS and pastor of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Metro spokesperson Sallie Hilvers did not identify the driver. Hilvers said the driver has been with Metro for about 10 years.
"We really don't know exactly what happened," Hilvers said. "The driver immediately called for assistance because he knew that something had happened."
Hilvers said the driver will have to undergo drug and alcohol tests, as is standard.
A witness, Cali Rhein, said she was behind the bus and didn't immediately realize two people had been hit. The traffic light was yellow, Rhein said, and the two victims were in a crosswalk.
"It's not a big intersection, so everyone was just slamming on their brakes, and then you just heard screaming," she said.
Emily Frank was lying in the middle of the crosswalk, Rhein said. She said Frank asked for her father, who was under the bus.
"She was just screaming," Rhein said.
Lt. Tim Brown said Emily Frank's injuries were not considered life-threatening. She was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Brown said.
Sara Holloway, a hospital nurse, said she also saw the bus strike the Franks and called it "traumatizing."
"It hasn't left my mind yet," she said Thursday.
Holloway said she and her boyfriend were driving behind the bus on their way home from dinner. When the bus turned left onto Erie, Holloway said she could see what was about to happen.
"I was in the car and I said to my boyfriend, 'Oh, my god, is that bus …' and before I even could finish my sentence he struck them. He didn't see them at all."
Holloway said she got out of their car and did what she could to help the Franks.
She said she would never be able to look at that intersection without thinking about it.
"People don't get hit by buses. You never want to witness that," Holloway said.
No passengers were aboard the bus, Hilvers said. It was operating on the crosstown Route 51 between Glenway Crossing in Westwood and Center of Cincinnati in Oakley.
The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents Metro bus drivers, released a statement Thursday expressing condolences to the Franks and saying, in part, "The safety of our passengers and pedestrians has always been, and will always be our first priority. We stand ready to work with the community to find ways to prevent tragedies like this from happening again."
The ATU said that its drivers face a host of challenges every day, "usually without incident. And when accidents happen, no one feels worse than the driver."
WCPO will update this story as more information becomes available.