A 32-year-old Winamac woman died Saturday afternoon after she was struck by a motor coach bus on State Road 14 near Oak Drive East in Pulaski County. The driver of the bus, 66-year-old James C. Hale of South Bend, told police that at around 2:13 p.m., he was traveling westbound on State Road 14 and saw a pedestrian walking in the middle of the road.
Hale said that the pedestrian began to walk into his lane of travel as he approached, so he quickly applied his brakes and crossed into the eastbound lane to avoid the pedestrian. Unfortunately, he said the pedestrian changed course and turned back into the path of the bus, despite looking directly at the massive, quickly-approaching bus.
Two passengers on the bus at the time of the collision said they felt the driver apply the brakes and looked up to see the pedestrian step into the path of the bus as the driver attempted to avoid the collision. Both witnesses said the pedestrian stepped in front of the bus, and was looking directly at it at the time of the collision. Another witness who was traveling behind the bus corroborated the story and said he saw the pedestrian step in front of the bus as well.
A nearby residential camera system captured the incident. Though the impact is blocked by a tree, the pedestrian can be seen walking east along the road before crossing into the roadway as the bus approached.
Evidence at the scene indicated the passenger struck the front passenger side of the vehicle.
The victim, Rachel M. Heishman of Winamac, was transported to Pulaski Memorial Hospital before being airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The incident report indicates Heishman had recently been under an emergency detention order for a previous suicide attempt.