Bus driver cited in SE Portland crash that killed woman

Bus driver cited in SE Portland crash that killed woman

PORTLAND, Ore. – The driver of the school bus that struck and killed a woman on Tuesday has been issued three citations.

Billie Jean Neel of Gladstone, 55, was cited with one count of careless driving causing death to a vulnerable road user and two counts of failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

The careless driving count carries a possible penalty of a fine of up to $12,500 and a one-year suspension of driving privileges.

Some of the penalties can be mitigated with the completion of a traffic safety course and community service.

Neel has a clean driving record and has been working for bus company First Student since 1989.

Couple was crossing street on their way home

Renee Bates was holding hands with her husband Shawn in a crosswalk at SE 148th and Division when the bus struck them both.

Shawn said on Wednesday that said the bus originally stopped short of the crosswalk then started rolling forward. Shawn saw the bus driver looking left for oncoming traffic on Division.

Both husband and wife started yelling for the bus to stop, Shawn said. He tried to pull his wife out of the way when the bus clipped his arm.

“I lost grip of her and she fell down. She ended up on her back and the bus kept going,” he said. “The next thing you know she was driving and had the wheel right up below her breastline and it was, like, on her stomach up here by her lungs.”

Witness David McCoy saw it all unfold and corroborates that story.

“She stepped out in front of the crosswalk, the bus driver was looking the opposite direction, ran over her, immediately ran back over her,” McCoy told KATU.

Another man, John Worden, said he was standing just behind Renee and Shawn when the accident happened.

“The ladies behind us were yelling ‘back up, back up,’ and I was trying to tell them ‘turn your wheels to your right,’ because it would’ve rolled right off her torso,” he said. “Instead she backed right back over the same injury and (the bus) stayed on her ankle. And when the bus finally backed off her ankle, it was just horrible.”