Diane Bullus was walking in this area of Centerline Road, above, standing on the grass off the road, when a truck crushed her foot.
The morning of October 15 started out like any other for long-time St. John resident Diane Bullus, but the day soon turned into a nightmare.
The St. John waitress and avid walker had not even made it out of Cruz Bay on her daily walk before a pickup truck ran over and crushed her foot, which landed her in the hospital for more than a week and left her suffering from on-going pain and unable to work.
“It was around 9 a.m. and I was getting ready to do my regular one-hour-and-15-minute exercise routine,” said Bullus. “I did this routine every morning. I would walk up Centerline Road, cut through by Pastory and go over to the Sunset Ridge area, down by Sirenusa and Serendip and circle back to Enighed through Pine Peace.”
Not new to the island or its sidewalk-less roadways, Bullus was vigilant for large trucks and speeding pickups during her morning walks, she explained.
‘“I always thought about the big trucks driving on Centerline Road,” she said. “But I was always really aware of where I was walking. Whenever I heard a truck, Iwould make sure I was off the road in a grassy area, whether I had to speed up my pace, slow down or stop.”
“I thought it would be worse up on Centerline in the Pastory area where the road is really narrow,” said Bullus.
On October 15, however, Bullus barely made it past the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Centerline Road when tragedy struck in the form of a pickup truck.
“I was walking on the grass on the lower section of Centerline Road right at the fire hydrant where you turn for the Seventh Day Adventist Church,” Bullus said. “I did not even hear the truck. I just felt instant pain.”
“It was almost surreal,” she said. “It came from behind me and crushed my entire foot. I was in shock — it was this open wound and my crushed shoe was thrown into the road.”
Bullus was transported to Roy Lester Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas, where she would spend a week and undergo several surgeries and a blood transfusion before being released.
Even back home now on St. John, Bullus has been unable to return to work as a waitress at Ocean Grill and continues to grapple with severe pain.
“The worst part is the pain,” she said. “It’s really my whole right foot. There are open wounds, broken bones and nerve damage.”
“I can’t wait tables,” Bullus said. “I’ll be out of work for who knows how long. I’m just in a lot of pain.”
As Bullus’ foot heals, even more surgeries might be in her future. In the meantime, many friends on St. John have come to her aid in a myriad of ways, she explained.
“There are just some wonderful people here on St. John,” said Bullus. “The folks at Ocean Grill got me a little computer chair that I can whiz around on and they send me home food. My landlord comes in every day and dresses my wounds.”
“An old-time customer of mine stopped in and other people sent flowers to the hospital,” she said. “There have been so many people being kind, I’m overwhelmed. St. John has been so nice to me in general.”
Bullus did see one way the island could use improvement and had a warning for drivers and walkers alike.
“There should be some kind of walking path for people who want to do that,” she said. “There are no sidewalks or even any area we can go walking really. I thought they were going to put a sidewalk in at least up Centerline Road, but it never happened.”
“People on the roads should be careful,” Bullus said. “The pedestrians should be careful, but the drivers too. They need to watch out for walkers too.”