Phoenix police said a 34-year-old man was hit by a city bus at First Avenue and Van Buren Street in downtown Phoenix on Aug. 1, 2018.
Arizona Republic

A pedestrian died Wednesday of injuries suffered when he was struck by a city bus in downtown Phoenix, police said.

Witnesses said they heard the man, identified by police as Henry Rodriguez, 34, screaming after he was hit and pinned under the bus, and then saw him pass out after he was freed.

The crash occurred about 4:20 p.m., Wednesday, at First Avenue and Van Buren Street, said Phoenix police Sgt. Armando Carbajal

Rodriguez was struck as the bus was turning south onto First Avenue, Carbajal said.

The man was crossing First Avenue from west to east in a crosswalk against the “Do Not Walk” signal, Carbajal said. 

A Phoenix police officer was in a vehicle behind the bus and saw the collision, he added.

Fire Department Capt. Rob McDade initially said the man was taken to a local hospital with severe injuries in extremely critical condition. 

Carbajal said he later was pronounced dead at the hospital.


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The bus driver is a 38-year-old man. His name was not released late Wednesday.

Officials for Valley Metro, which oversees the regional bus system, were at the scene but declined comment. Agency officials did not respond to several email and phone requests for comment Wednesday.

Witnesses recalled hearing the man’s screams after he was hit.

Erica O’Daniel, 26, said she was working at nearby sandwich shop when the man was hit. She saw the immediate aftermath.

“I see this guy under the wheel,” she said. “He was yelling. He had blood on his face.”

She said it appeared the man was dragged under the bus.

“As soon as they backed the bus up off of him he stood up and passed out,” she said.

Don Roberts, 42, was nearby when he noticed the bus stopped in an odd position and a police vehicle right by it. He said he went to see what was going on and then heard screams.

“That’s when I noticed there was a body under there,” he said, adding the man was trapped under the bus.

“He was laid down on his stomach. He was very alert, but the blood was everywhere. All of a sudden the man says, ‘I’m going to die, you guys are going to let me die.”’

Lars Jacoby, a spokesman for the Phoenix Public Transit office, said the office is assisting police in the investigation and “making sure that we have all the staff and any sort of on-board video available for the police to review.” 

Jacoby said it is likely that the bus driver will be required to take a drug test, which usually occurs after any type of accident.

The intersection was closed to traffic while police investigated, but traffic was moving again late Wednesday night.

No further details were immediately available.

Return to for updates. 

Angela Forburger contributed to this report.



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