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Bus, wheelchair-bound pedestrian collide

UPDATE (1:41 p.m.): UNC student Joseph Brown was involved in Thursday's collision with a Chapel Hill Transit bus, according to an incident report released today by the Department of Public Safety.

Brown is a business administration major from Mooresville. His Facebook profile says he is a member of the class of 2016.

Brown was taken to UNC Hospitals for his injuries. The incident report did not include the severity of his injuries.

The bus was driven by Carrboro resident Carol Leigh Brown-Lopez, according to the report. The report says Brown was also in a motorized wheelchair at the time of the collision.

At press time, the Department of Public Safety still had not released the name of the victim or any description of events. The Department of Public Safety had not finished an incident report for the accident eight hours after the accident occurred.

At 10:09 p.m. Thursday, Randy Young, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety said the report would not be ready before Friday morning at the earliest.

“The person involved was in a wheelchair, but I couldn’t even say the gender of the person involved right now,” Young said.

Though Young said the report would definitely not be ready until at least Friday morning, he said there is actually no timeline on when the report would be made public.

“The person was alert and conscious I think, suffered a laceration but was alert and conscious when transported to UNC Hospitals,” Young said when asked if the person involved was still in the hospital.

Young, who left the office around 5 p.m. according to Department of Public Safety employees at the department’s on-campus office, said he could not access the report from his home Thursday night because no report was logged in the UNC system.

“The people involved in following up with that want to do a thorough job,” he said.

The investigation may involve talking with the people directly involved as well as all witnesses, Young said.

At the scene of the accident, bystanders watched as first responders assessed the situation.

“They were all like ‘what happened,’ they were all showing concern, and I think just seeing the wheelchair there is adding a lot more distress than if there wasn’t that evidence right there,” said bystander Nitin Goel.

“You can see that the student body is pretty curious about it, and they’re concerned.”

Students standing on the sidewalk were not the only people who watched the accident happen.

Passengers on the Chapel Hill Transit bus that hit the person were held on the bus for 30 minutes so that the names of those on the bus and their statements could be collected.

Senior Amber Majors, a passenger on the U-route bus involved in the accident, said the atmosphere was tense aboard the vehicle.

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“It definitely wasn’t calm,” Majors said. “Some people wanted to get off the bus right away.”

She went on to explain that people were very upset and kept getting out of their seats.

“At least three or four people were crying,” she said.

University Assistant Editor Jane Wester contributed reporting.