More than a dozen people were rushed to metro hospitals after an ATA bus rolled in the Northland Wednesday night.
Thirteen people, including the Area Transportation Authority bus driver, were injured. Three people, including the driver, were injured in the car. The bus driver was placed on paid leave while she recovers from her injuries. Everyone injured in the accident is expected to recover.
Investigators said a driver in a passenger car was driving on North Northwood Road and pulled out in front of the ATA bus headed south on northwest Prairie View Road, which runs parallel to Interstate 29.
The bus swerved to try to avoid a crash. Both vehicles slid down the embankment and the bus rolled at least once. Firefighters had to extricate several passengers.
Officers are trying to determine why the car pulled out in front of the bus. Neither driver was impaired, officials said.
"The accident will be thoroughly investigated and KCATA is cooperating with KCPD to determine the cause. Thankfully, there appear to be no life-threatening injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and their families," ATA General Manager Mark Huffer said in a written statement.
Accident investigators said it was incredibly fortunate that no one was critically injured in the crash.
According to witnesses, a nearby gas station turned into a makeshift hospital as injured passengers came there for help.
"I can't believe it. When I saw that guy come in with his head bashed and his elbow, blood was everywhere, I thought someone had to die. Plus when I heard the collision I thought someone had to die. No one died. Thank God," witness William Hummer said.
Witnesses said they are relieved everyone survived the crash.
Video taken from inside the bus shows how terrifying the ordeal was for passengers and the driver. Several passengers braced for the impact.
Rebecca Araujo was sitting in the front row behind the bus driver. She saw the bus driver unsuccessfully try to avoid clipping the car.
"I knew that a crash was about to happen. But I didn't expect the rest," she said. "We heard the crash and then bus went rolling down the hill."
Araujo suffered bruised ribs, scrapes and scratches. The bus stopped just a few feet from the gas pumps.
Jesse Adams and his 4-year-old son were walking home from the store when they saw the crash.
"It flipped twice in the air and landed right there where all that mud and stuff is," Adams said. "It just crumbled like a can."
Adams said people were crying and paramedics had to free passengers.
"It was crazy," he said, adding it looked like a scene from a movie.
Broken arms, cuts and bruises were the worst injuries. He said he believes the car's driver was trying to get out of the way, but the tires were spinning on the wet pavement.
"I'm just glad no one is dead," he said.
Araujo said once she recovers that she will ride the bus again because it wasn't the bus driver's fault. She said the bus driver was not speeding.
"It was the other people's fault fully," she said.
Two passengers remain hospitalized. No citations have been issued and the investigation continues.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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