Followup Edmonton Journal article

This news article was posted to the online edition of the Edmonton Journal on April 21, 2011. You can read it there by following this link. I am republishing it here in case the Edmonton Journal subsequently removes the content. I believe doing so constitutes fair use as this entire blog is dedicated to commentary on the event described in the article.

Edmonton bus accident victim named

Ailish O’Connor, 28, was killed crossing street


EDMONTON – The woman who was struck and killed Wednesday morning by an transit bus worked for the city’s finance and treasury department, and graduated from the University of Alberta’s bachelor of commerce program in 2005.

On Thursday, the medical examiner’s office identified the woman as Ailish O’Connor, 28.

According to the City of Edmonton’s website, O’Connor was the strategic planning director in the office of the chief financial officer.

The offices are in Chancery Hall, near the accident scene.

“Ailish was an exceptional person. Always a kind word, a ready smile and willingness to help,” city manager Simon Farbrother said in a news release. “She will be deeply missed.”

The family has asked for privacy following the accident.

O’Connor worked for the City of Edmonton since 2006, according to a release from the city.

A Route 1 bus was turning left from 102A Avenue into the southbound lane of 97th Street at about 6:50 a.m. when it hit O’Connor, who was on her way to work.

The marked intersection is just south of the Edmonton Law Courts building.

Police think the bus had a green light. They could not confirm which direction O’Connor was walking.

Fire rescue crews had to free O’Connor from under the bus. EMS treated her on the scene before she was transferred to hospital, where she died.

In February 2010, O’Connor wrote an entry on the city’s Transforming Edmonton blog about the city’s Good Neighbour Awards.

In the entry, O’Connor talked about previous award winners, including a “bright, bubbly” eight-year-old who baked cookies and wrote letters for her neighbours.

“These people, by their mere presence it seems, can improve the quality of life for the people around them,” O’Connor wrote in the blog.

She also wrote about one of her own good deeds. While relaxing in her living room one day, she saw a neighbour’s car stuck in the snow and ran outside to help push.

Still, she wrote that she thought she could be a better neighbour, noting she hadn’t yet said hello to a family who recently moved onto her block.

O’Connor’s death came four years to the day of the last traffic fatality involving a transit bus.

On April 20, 2007, Norah Tomlin Henkel, 70, was killed when she was hit by a bus while crossing Macdonald Drive at 101st Street.

Henkle was crossing the street on a green walk light.

The driver, Audrey Ferguson, was convicted in 2009 of careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian.

Ferguson was fined $2,000 and had her driver’s licence suspended for three months.

The circumstances of Wednesday’s accident caused “flashbacks” for the Henkel family, the victim’s daughter, Tammy, wrote in an e-mail to the Edmonton Journal.

“We will keep the … family in our hearts and prayers. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do or say to lessen the trauma of losing a loved one under these circumstances,” she wrote.

She said the Henkel family still has “visceral reactions” when they hear of any pedestrian accidents.

Police continue to investigate Wednesday’s death. No charges have been laid.

Christopher Thompson
May 23rd, 2011 7:41 PM

I subsequently followed up with Julianna Cummins, the author of this story, to thank her for her reporting. I thought she did a much better job than the Edmonton Sun.

Judi Hale
May 25th, 2011 11:57 AM

I’m glad you followed up with Juliana Cummins, Chris. I’m afraid I was much less generous. I wrote to Pamela Roth of the Edmonton Sun and gave it to her with both barrels. Her response indicated her complete lack of compassion and so needless to say I have let the matter lapse.
Chris, you teach me something all the time – look for the positive and don’t chase after the negative. I love you so much. Thank you.

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