Bus driver who killed bicycle advocate Susie Stephens pleads guilty; given $500 fine

St. Louis-area cycling advocate Martin Pion reports that the Michael W. Wamble, the bus driver who ran over cycling advocate Susie Stephens last year as she crossed the street in a St. Louis crosswalk, recently pleaded guilty and was fined $500.

The bus driver failed to yield to Stephens, a pedestrian in a crosswalk, as required by Missouri law.

Stephens was pulled under the bus and crushed to death by the rear tires.

Missouri drivers routinely ignore the requirement to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and there is little or no enforcement of the provision. Kansas City music student Pei Chen was killed in a crosswalk this spring, by a motorist who illegally changed lanes in order to race around other motorists who stopped to yield to Chen. Chen's death unleashed a torrent of public controversy but resulted in similarly anemic charges against the driver.

Meanwhile, a semi-tractor driver who killed the driver of a slow-moving tractor on Highway 50 was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a relatively serious charge in comparison with the "failure to yield"-type charges in the pedestrian fatality cases.

MoBikefed news recently carried a story about the one-year anniversary of Stephens' death.

Martin Pion has compiled a detailed list of information about the collision between the bus and Stephens and the aftermath of the collision.

Missouri Bicycle Federation and Missouri legislators are currently working on legislation that will create more serious consequences for drivers who negligently or recklessly injure or kill pedestrians or bicyclists in Missouri.