Letter: A potential tragedy

The story that follows in quotation marks isn’t real. No one died as described. But only a few inches separated what’s make-believe and what could have been:

“Bus slams into Subaru Outback; longtime local and 4-year-old granddaughter die

“A downvalley-bound bus ignored a mandatory right turn, sped across the intersection of Highway 82 and Upper Woody Creek Road at 3:41 p.m. Thursday and slammed into a Subaru Outback as it came to a proper halt at the intersection. Dead at the scene were 50-year Aspenite Greg Lewis and his 4-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn.”

Except for pure luck and a few inches, the copy above could have been an actual headline and lead paragraph in Friday’s paper.

In fact, this is what really happened: I was driving up to Highway 82 from the Woody Creek post office. As I neared the stop sign at the junction of Highway 82, I noticed in my extreme peripheral vision a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus approaching fast from the left. The bus, after stopping to load passengers, was using the Highway 82 turnout lane to Woody Creek Road to gain speed before merging into downvalley traffic. But it didn’t merge, and it didn’t make the mandatory right-hand turn. Still accelerating, the bus sped through the intersection, between me and the stop sign 15 feet ahead of my car. Had I stopped at the sign, instead of 15 feet in front of the sign, the bus would have plowed into my car broadside.

RFTA, your drivers have a horrible reputation overall for vehicular intimidation and recklessness. But speeding through an intersection on the wrong side of the stop sign directed at traffic approaching from 90 degrees is unconscionable. If that’s how RFTA drivers navigate that intersection, then death is inevitable — and soon.

Will the RFTA driver in this near-miss event avoid even a reprimand? If so, RFTA management is either immoral, cowardly or indifferent to the law and others’ lives.

Does RFTA have the character and integrity to send me a signed apology? Will RFTA ensure none of its drivers recklessly traverses the Upper Woody Creek intersection on the inside of the stop sign directed at perpendicular traffic?

Let’s hope so, or it’s just a matter of time before a RFTA bus kills a car full of people as their vehicle rolls to a legal stop.

Greg Lewis

Woody Creek