Cornell mourns loss of two community members


Cornell University students, staff and faculty are mourning after the loss of two community members in two days.

An employee was killed Monday morning while she was crossing Jessup Road on campus, and Saturday a student was killed while walking on Route 96 north of Ithaca.

Angela F. Stedwell, 55, of Spencer, was killed around 7:25 a.m. Monday after she was struck by a Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit bus while crossing Jessup Road in front of the entrance of A-Lot. She was an administrative assistant in the College of Human Ecology.

The cause of the accident is being investigated by the Cayuga Heights Police Department and the Tompkins County Sheriff Office.

Mary Opperman, vice president for Human Resources and Safety Services, sent a message of condolence to the Cornell community Monday afternoon.

“I offer my deepest sympathy to Angela’s family, friends and co-workers, who could not have prepared for their sudden loss,” Opperman said in a statement. “I ask all of you to keep Angela in your thoughts.”

Angela Stedwell
Angela Stedwell (Photo: Cornell Photo)
Another member of the Cornell community, 23-year-old Oluchukwu Onuora died early Saturday after being struck by a car around 4 a.m. on Route 96, according to the sheriff’s office.

Onuora was a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. He died Saturday morning at Cayuga Medical Center, according to Cornell.

On Monday, the Sheriff’s office said the accident involving Onuora does not appear to be speed or drug related and no charges are pending against the driver, according to the sheriff’s office.

Patty Poist, communications and marketing manager for TCAT, said members of their operations team are working with authorities to investigate the cause of the accident.

The state Public Transportation Safety Board based in Albany is also investigating the incident.

Poist said the name of the driver is not being released at this time. The driver has been put on paid administrative leave, which Poist said is standard practice and not a reflection of the driver.

“TCAT extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Angela,” Poist said. “Our many condolences and thoughts are with her loved ones.”

In 2014, TCAT reported 92 accidents in total, broken down into 27 preventable, 45 unpreventable and 20 other incidents. That is up from 47 total accidents in 2013. There were 25 preventable accidents, 18 unpreventable and three other incidents in 2013. Poist said the incident number was higher last year because the operations team has put more emphasis on reporting incidents, which can include anything from mirrors being damaged by trees to customers falling on the bus.

There have been two other TCAT fatalities in the last 15 years. In 2000, another Cornell student Michelle Evans, 21, was struck near Thurston and Wait avenues. She was a junior studying biology.

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