• Montesano woman suing over being mowed down in crosswalk

    By: David Ham


    MONTESANO, Wash. - 72 year old Mary Bryan said she was mowed down in a crosswalk in Montesano after buying orange juice at a Thriftway last December.

    "The doctors in Harborview said I was a walking miracle and they didn't know why I was alive. I had three brain bleeds. At first they thought I would not make it because of the brain bleeds," said Bryan.

    She suffered eight broken ribs and a fractured wrist.

    "Very painful.  I ache 90 percent of the time I hurt," said Bryan.

    Bryan is not only surprised she survived the crash, but is also surprised that the driver of the bus, Barbara Bugher, is still on the job as a bus driver for Montesano Schools.

    "So she's still driving bus? She's still driving school buses. Well what if I was one of those little kids getting off her school buses and got hit?  I would now be dead. I'm a big person," said Bryan.

    Superintendent Dan Winter said that the incident was handled and that "accidents happen."

    In a letter sent to Bugher from Winter after the incident, he wrote, "As we discussed no disciplinary action will occur; however, a record of the incident will be placed in your personnel file."

    Bugher was fined $176 by the town of Montesano for the infraction of "failing to yield to a pedestrian."

    We tried visiting her at her house in Elma for comment but no one was home.

    She also did not comment over the phone.

    In a police report, she told officers that she didn't see Bryan in the crosswalk and she was blinded by the sun's reflection off of a windshield while trying to make a left turn.

    "It's a very open crosswalk there's not a lot of stuff to distract you, and maybe the sun was blinding her but if you’re driving a school bus and you can’t' see are you supposed to just pull out into traffic," said Bryan.

    Kevin Hastings is an attorney for Bryan.

    He filed a $1.1 million claim against Montesano Schools over the incident.

    "The school district knew this driver had all sorts of problems.

    When you know about such red flags, you can't let things go until someone gets mowed down in a cross-walk," Hastings added, "Mary has suffered a ton from this both physically and emotionally. The blunt trauma to her head nearly killed her and has been since causing her significant memory issues."

    We found that Bugher was disciplined in the past.

    In 2011, Bugher was sent a letter by the District noting "behavior which is perceived to be bullying and harassing."

    Winter said that she has never had any traffic issues on the job, and her past discipline has nothing to do with the most recent incident.

    He said, "The district has the confidence in her ability to make sure that kids get to and from school safely.”

    Some parents aren't so sure.

    "It's nerve-wracking because i put my kids the faith in the school district to make sure my kids get to school safe," said Brandon Warner who has a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old that attend Montesano Schools.

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