Officer struck by bus in Providence dies

Frank McKnight was critically injured after being hit by a RIPTA bus in Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.
Frank McKnight was critically injured after being hit by a RIPTA bus in Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A security officer at the federal courthouse passed away Thursday night after he was struck by a RIPTA bus in downtown Providence.

Frank McKnight, 69, died at Rhode Island Hospital with his family by his side, according to U.S. Marshal Jamie Hainsworth.

Hainsworth released a statement, saying “Officer McKnight was a dedicated, career law enforcement officer and public servant who came to work daily eager and ready to serve, brandishing a positive attitude and always with a smile. His distinguished career will be heralded. His absence will be greatly felt by all that he worked with and served.”

McKnight worked as a security officer for the past 13 years, but for 25 years prior to that he served on the North Kingstown Police Department.

Word of Wednesday’s accident quickly spread throughout the law enforcement community. North Kingstown Police Captain Steven St. Onge said McKnight was a vibrant person who always had a heart for law enforcement.

“It’s heartbreaking because he’s such a genuine person, he is a great guy,” he said.

McKnight was on the job Wednesday when he was hit. Police said surveillance footage shows the bus stopping at a red light then making a left turn on to Washington Street, where McKnight was crossing at a crosswalk.

St. Onge worked with McKnight for nearly two decades, and said he rose quickly through the ranks before retiring as a lieutenant. Following his retirement, St. Onge said McKnight wanted to keep busy, so he took the job as a federal security officer.

“He’s a natural people person, Frank’s got the gift of gab,” St. Onge added.

RIPTA CEO Raymond Studley said the driver, Katherine Gormley, is “extremely distraught, as the rest of the transit authority is.” She’s since been placed on paid administrative leave.

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