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Wheelchair-bound woman hit by car remembered

A woman who was struck by a car last year while riding in her wheelchair on Mile Hill Drive has died, and was honored recently at a meeting of the Kitsap Transit board of directors.

Patricia Lange, 83, died July 27, just more that a year after being hit while trying to cross Mile Hill Drive at Fircrest Drive the evening of July 20, 2007.

John Clauson, a Port Orchard City Councilman and Kitsap Transit’s service development director, told the board last month that Lange had survived the accident but had been moved to a nursing home weeks afterward.

Clauson said Lange had been very involved with Kitsap Transit over the last several years, starting more than 16 years ago when she began volunteering for the agency as a “travel trainer,” helping older riders and others to use the region’s public transportation.

In 1996, Lange was elected to to Kitsap Transit’s Citizens Advisory Committee and remained on the committee until her passing.

In 1997, Clauson said Lange participated in a Washington State Department of Transportation project that involved using public transit to travel to different areas, including a complete circle of the Olympic Peninsula.

Lange’s research on the project helped create a publication called “Transit Treks in Western Washington,” which Clauson said Kitsap Transit still receives requests for, though its publication is no longer funded.

Along with her interests in local transportation, Lange volunteered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Port Orchard and Tacoma.

According to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Lange was crossing Mile Hill Drive at Fircrest Drive around 6:30 p.m. July 20, 2007, when she was struck by a vehicle traveling westbound.

Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the car that hit Lange was a 2000 Chevrolet coupe driven by a South Kitsap woman who “appeared to be doing everything she was supposed to be doing.

“It happened very quickly,” he said, “and it appeared the driver couldn’t do anything but try and hit the brakes.”

Investigators that neither excessive speed nor alcohol was involved.

“There were a lot of witnesses,” Wilson said.

Lange was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following the accident.

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