BUS DRIVER LET PASSENGER OFF OF BUS ON WRONG SIDE OF HIGHWAY DURING DRIVING RAINSTORM RESULTING IN DEATH – SKIPPED BUS STOP AT CEDAR LANE APARTMENTS
LEONARDTOWN, MD. – Why did a bus driver for the St. Mary’s County Transit System allow a rider to get off a county bus on the busy Rt. 5 south of Leonardtown, at Cedar Lane, instead of turning on Cedar Lane and transporting the rider to the front door of the facility? The bus system leaves busy roads and travels into shopping centers in Lexington Park, Leonardtown, California, and Charlotte Hall daily. The family and friends of the deceased find it inconceivable that any passenger is allowed to exit a county transit bus on the shoulder of Rt. 5; and then must cross the busy highway when the bus could have driven to the front door of the Cedar Lane Apartments. The schedule for the county bus system clearly shows that the bus stops at Cedar Lane Apartments, not a quarter mile away on the shoulder of Rt. 5.
According to the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department, on Friday, July 29, 2022, at 3:18 pm, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the area of Route 5 and Cedar Lane Road in Leonardtown for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.
Deputies arrived on the scene to find the pedestrian suffering from serious injuries, and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to continue the investigation.
Preliminary investigation determined that Joseph Harry “Jay” Norris IV, 42, of Leonardtown, was attempting to cross the travel lanes of Point Lookout Road when a 2018 Dodge Journey struck him. The Dodge was operated by Ashlee Lauren Kennedy, 35, of Mechanicsville, traveling northbound on Point Lookout Road. Norris was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital by ambulance and declared deceased a short time later.
At this time, police say that the weather and the pedestrian’s failure to yield the right of way are contributing factors in the collision. What the Sheriff left out of his press release was that the complicity of the bus driver and poor training also led to the death of Jay Norris.
Jay was the son of former Leonardtown Mayor Chip Norris and the late St. Mary’s County Treasurer Jan Norris. Jay lived independently at Cedar Lane Apartments and, up until a month ago, used the bus system to travel to BJ’s in California, where he was employed.
Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or events leading up to the crash is asked to call DFC Matthew Beyer at 301-475-4200, ext. 78005, or firstname.lastname@example.org.