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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Ithaca reacts to pedestrians killed in vehicle accidents

A Cornell staff member was struck and killed by a Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit bus while attempting to cross Jessup Road on the North Campus of Cornell University during the morning of Jan. 26.

Angela Stedwell, an administrative assistant in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, was hit by the bus at approximately 7:25 a.m., according to the Cayuga Heights Police Department.

Patty Poist, TCAT communications and marketing manager, said TCAT is currently working with state and local authorities during the ongoing investigation of the accident.  Poist also said it is unclear how long the investigation will take.

“All accidents are different and thus are the timelines of their conclusions,” Poist said.

Cayuga Heights Police Chief James Steinmetz said the investigation is still in its preliminary phase.

Stedwell’s death comes on the heels of Cornell senior Oluchukwu Onuora being struck and killed by a car on Route 96B early in the morning Jan. 24.

Onuora was born in Nigeria and came to the United States as a young child.  He began his time at Cornell in the fall of 2012 after attending Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

Susan Murphy, Cornell University vice president for Student and Academic Services, released a statement of condolences later that morning.

“On behalf of the entire Cornell community, I extend our heartfelt sympathy to Oluchukwu’s family and friends,” Murphy said. “Please join me in remembering Oluchukwu and acknowledging what is truly a sad day for our community.”

In response to the two accidents, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick posted on his Facebook page a lengthy statement where he offered his plan to make the streets safer in 2015.

“Last year we built a dozen new traffic signals with improved pedestrians features,” Myrick said on his Facebook. “Next year we will build fifteen more. Last year we added curb ‘bump outs’ at key intersections downtown that narrow the distance pedestrians need to cross safely. Next year we’ll add more — including on Route 13 to the Farmers Market.”

Myrick said the city will finish the Waterfront Trail, a path from Stewart Park to Cass Park, this year, and will move forward with plans to create safer paths for students.

“This year we will also begin work on our ‘Safe Route to School’ Bike Boulevard network,” he said. “This network of streets will combine traffic calming and signage to improve pedestrian safety.”

Myrick finished the post by saying he recently signed up for U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets,” which will begin with a mayoral summit at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in March.

“The challenge will enable us to access ideas [that have] been successful in other cities and will give us access to federal resources,” Myrick said.

Mary Opperman, vice president of Human Resources and Safety Services at Cornell University, expressed her condolences for Stedwell’s acquaintances.

“I offer my deepest sympathy to Angela’s family, friends and co-workers, who could not have prepared for their sudden loss,” she said in a statement released by the university.

In an email, Stedwell’s close friends and co-workers said Stedwell had a warm personality and was devoted to her family.

“She was very family oriented, and she took great pride in talking about her family,” two co-workers of Stedwell, who preferred not to be named, said. “Angie greeted everyone warmly with a smile because that came naturally to her.”

They also said Stedwell’s work ethic and personality were an asset to their office and she will be missed.

“She was full of energy and took pride in getting things done quickly and efficiently, and her personality seemed to make everyone want to pitch in to help,” they said. “She is loved by everyone, and we are all left with a hole in all of our hearts with her passing.”

Stedwell’s is the first TCAT-related fatality since March 2000, when Cornell junior Michelle Evans was hit and killed by a bus on the Cornell campus.

Max Denning can be reached at mdenning@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @TheMaxDenning