MARYLAND

Anicia Castillo struck, killed by Ride On bus

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - A deadly accident involving a Montgomery County Ride On bus is the latest in a series of crashes involving the suburban commuter bus line.

Photo: Jeanna Sulse

The most recent incident happened around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday in the Rockville Metro station's east parking lot. Anicia Castillo, 62, of Falls Church, Va., was walking toward the Kiss & Ride lot when she was fatally struck near the corner Park Avenue and S. Stonestreet Avenue.

"Your heart drops, and you don't know how to feel," Castillo's 22-year-old daughter Jeanna Sulse remarked. "The moment I found out, I fell. My dad was in disbelief, my brother had no words."

Castillo, who was born in Philippines, immigrated to the Washington, D.C. area in the 1970s. She wed her husband Jim in 1990, before giving birth to her daughter, Jeanne, in 1992, and her son, Joseph, in 1996.

"She created a family for my brother, my dad and I to rely on. She was our glue," Sulse added.

Loved ones say Castillo's Type A personality led her to pursue a career in housekeeping. "Some people say cleaning is a burden, but she loved it," Sulse added.

Monday through Friday, the 62-year-old rolled-out-of-bed at the crack of dawn, relying on public transportation to travel to and from client homes across the D.C. metropolitan area. Castillo proudly passed her strong work ethic onto her children. Both are currently pursuing college degrees.

"She helped me chase so many dreams and ambitions. I'm moving to Las Vegas for Teach for America this May. She was really proud of me," Sulse remarked with tears streaming down her cheeks. "It's hard because I know I'm going to share it with her in a different light now. I just wish she could physically be there."

A Concerning Trend:

Ride On, which owns and operates 335 buses across Montgomery County, recorded one pedestrian collision in 2013, two in 2012, and one in 2011. However, 2014 has issued a sudden spike in pedestrian accidents.

On Jan. 23, a Ride On driver hit and injured a pedestrian using the crosswalk at the corner of Rockville Pike and South Drive, near the National Institute of Health.

A strikingly similar collision unfolded on Feb. 18 in downtown Bethesda. According to BethesdaNow.com, Ride On bus driver Jerome Prescott hit and injured a woman using the crosswalk at the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane, near the Bethesda Metro station.

Tuesday evening's accident at the Rockville Metro station marked the third incident, one with deadly consequences.

"That happened here in Rockville? Wow I'm sorry to hear that. I really am," one commuter remarked upon learning the bad news Wednesday. "These drivers, they sometimes come in here like a bat out of hell, and you know people will run to try and catch the bus... Just horrible."

Detectives from Montgomery County's Collision Reconstruction Unit spent hours Tuesday evening photographing the crash scene. A preliminary investigation revealed Castillo was walking near the Rockville Metro parking lot entrance when Ride On driver Daryll Banks, 42, of Lusby, hit her. Maryland court records show Banks, who's worked for Ride On since Jan. 2011, has received five traffic citations since Dec. 2010. The violations include speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. In one instance, Banks failed to provide a Calvert County Sheriff's Department deputy with his registration card, resulting in a $50 ticket. Still, police say it's "too early" to determine who, if anyone, was at fault in Tuesday's fatal accident.

A spokeswoman for Ride On told ABC7, although Banks' bus was equipped with a camera system, the high-tech device, "was not working" at the time of the crash. Police were reportedly able to obtain video from a second bus parked nearby.

The Next Chapter:

Back at her modest single story Falls Church home, Castillo's children greeted a steady stream of family and friends Wednesday, each bearing stories of a strong-willed Filipino woman, who achieved the American dream.

"My brother and I are going to be the ones calling each other and checking-up on each other now. It's going to be calls from grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles, dad, but not mom anymore," Sulse surmised. "I'm just so lucky to have known mom. She was great, and I wish you guys had known her too."

If you'd like to help Castillo's family cover her funeral and visitation costs, click here.

 

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