Mo-ped fatality closes Sixth Street

Lawrence police and paramedics work the scene of a fatality accident near Sixth and Arkansas streets Saturday afternoon. A moped driver was killed in a collision with a T bus around 5 p.m.

A 66-year-old Lawrence man was killed Saturday after his mo-ped collided with a city T bus near Sixth and Arkansas streets.

The man was leaving a business on the south side of the road and attempting to turn west on Sixth Street when he was struck by the front end of the bus, Lawrence Police Sgt. Randy Roberts said. The accident occurred at 5:15 p.m.

Casey Lee, a Lawrence resident who was riding the bus when the accident occurred, said the man pulled out from the driveway near Ray’s Liquor Warehouse, 1215 W. Sixth St.

“He didn’t look at the bus driver really, coming forward,” Lee said. The driver “just couldn’t stop in time and hit him.”

Lee estimated that the bus was about 20 to 30 feet from the liquor store drive when the mo-ped pulled out onto Sixth Street.

It was unclear Saturday whether alcohol was a factor, Roberts said, and the incident remains under investigation. Roberts said more information would be available Monday. He did not release either the mo-ped or the bus drivers’ names, but said the bus driver is a 33-year-old Lawrence resident.

Marguerite Risley was driving east on Sixth Street when the accident occurred. She said she passed the mo-ped driver before he moved from the drive onto Sixth Street. She said she saw the accident in her rearview mirror and called 911.

“I honestly thought that he had on a helmet, but then I saw his hat,” she said at the scene, pointing to a cap in the street near the bus. “See, his hat on the street. I guess that’s all he had on.”

Roberts confirmed that the mo-ped driver was not wearing a helmet.

Mike Sweeten, general manager of the T, responded to the scene after the accident.

“This is by far the most serious accident that we have been involved in,” he said.

Sweeten said T drivers go through an extensive training program and learn defensive driving skills. He said they learn to always be scanning the roadway ahead and to watch for traffic well down the road.

“From what I can understand from the police at this point, there were several witnesses that said the person on the mo-ped just pulled out so fast in front of the bus that there wasn’t really anything he could do,” Sweeten said.

Sweeten said the bus driver has been with the transit system for some time and is a “very solid driver.”

At least eight people, including one child, were on the bus at the time of the accident, Roberts said.