A Capital Metro bus driver ran a red light and hit a student today during the biannual foam sword party, an event put on by the Architecture Student Council.
Austin Police Department officials said a student, who was later identified as Nick Engmann, was hit by the bus at approximately 12:48 p.m. while crossing the street during the event. Engmann had minor injuries and was transferred to St. David’s Hospital. APD spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga said the bus driver has already received a citation and whether he is at fault will be determined by insurance companies.
The bus was number 8936 running the 1M northbound route, said APD officer Jerry Bauzon.
Engmann posted to Facebook at approximately 4:30 p.m. today about the incident.
“Sorry the event got halted because of me fellow Longhorns! I’ll individually try and make it up to you all :). Hook em!!!”
This is the second time in the past few weeks a UT student has been hit by a Capital Metro bus. On April 20, 22-year-old advertising senior Andrew Ching Nien-Wang died when he fell under a bus as it departed. Wang was intoxicated at the time.
The event happens twice a semester and involves students standing on opposite sides of Guadalupe Street with foam swords and running across the street during red lights to hit the opposing side.
According to the Facebook event page, students have three rules to follow if they choose to participate: only cross the crosswalk at designated times when cars have stopped, do not bring your own foam swords since they will be provided and return the swords after the event.
James Spence, an executive officer on the Architecture Student Council, said the council has been holding the event for about six years with no accidents. Spence said the most serious incident involved a student participant slipping on the wet street while crossing last year.
He said the council talks to professors about safety and tells participants to be safe when crossing the street. Spence said students left the event soon after the accident. He said he feels terrible about what happened to Engmann during the event.
“It’s rotten luck that something like this happened at [an event] that should be a release for students,” Spence said. “It doesn’t look like we’ll be hosting the event in the future.”
He said the council is talking to professors in the School of Architecture on how to proceed. Although the Architecture Student Council hosts the event, Spence said the school does not promote it.
UT alumnus Bill Wilson said he has come to watch the foam sword battle for the past five years. Wilson said he heard a thud when the bus hit the student, after which the driver stopped immediately.
Additional reporting contributed by Hayley Fick.