New York City residents lift bus off pregnant woman

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Image: Sta2GUYZ.

A seven-month pregnant New York City resident was killed after being run over by a bus.

33-year-old Donnette Sanz, a traffic agent for the city police department was crossing a Bronx intersection at East 188th Street and Webster Avenue when a van pushed her into the path of an oncoming school bus that then pinned her to the road.

"We was riding along, coming down the hill," John Dargan, a passenger in the van, told the Daily News. "He said, 'Oh, my Lord, I don't have no brakes.' It happened so quick."

Approximately 30 people helped lift the bus off of the woman. "I ran out of my house to join 10 people trying to lift up the bus," said Cheryl Brown, 47. "At first, we couldn't get it up, so then another 10 people ran over to help, and we got the bus up and the lady out." After being freed from beneath the bus, Sanz was then transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where her baby was delivered by caesarean section.

Sanz survived the birth, but died an hour later. The 1.5kg boy, named Sean Michael, was initially classified as being in critical condition, but later showed signs of improvement.

"The light turned red, and I couldn't stop. I tried to miss her," said the van's driver, 72-year-old Walter Walker, to the New York Post. Walker was arrested on charges of criminally negligent homicide and driving without a license. He pleaded not guilty. Police said the brakes on Walter's van were in such poor condition that the vehicle was unsafe. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that Walker already had 20 suspensions on his driver's license.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered condolences to Sanz's husband, Rafael. "It's a terrible poignancy that Donnette's son's birthday will now coincide with the day his mother died," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Sanz's colleagues have set up a memorial at the intersection where she was killed.