NYC Bus Driver Killed, 4 Hurt After Collision With Box Truck
February 12, 2014 1:30 PM
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A crash between a New York City bus and an allegedly stolen box truck sent both vehicles careening onto the sidewalk Wednesday, killing the bus driver and sending four others to the hospital.
It happened around 5:30 a.m. on 14th Street and 7th Avenue. Police said the crosstown M14 bus was going east on 14th when the truck traveling south on 7th blew a red light and broadsided it.
The impact was so strong, it sent both vehicles crashing into a building and several parked cars. Scaffolding that was in front of the building collapsed onto the wreckage.
Witnesses said the crash looked like something out of a movie.
“Crazy bizarre,” witness Luis Maisonet told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown. “People are going to work and this happens. Unbelievable.”
Craig Ydolly was facing the other way on the street when he heard the crash.
“I heard like a boom, like a plow. I thought it was a plow being scraped or something and then I turn around, I see the bus just going straight right into where it hit at,” Ydolly told WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane. “Everything just came down so it made more noise.”
The bus driver, 49-year-old William Pena of Hillside, New Jersey, died at the scene.
William Pena was killed in a bus crash on Feb. 12, 2014. (credit: Transit Workers Union)
“He was a very kind person to all of us,” fellow MTA bus driver Steve Pierre said. “We’re all saddened and we’re all hurt right now.”
Among those injured were the truck driver, a coffee cart vendor and two passengers on the bus. MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the truck hit the vendor.
All four were taken to area hospitals, including the truck driver who was immediately taken into police custody.
Police said the truck was stolen and believe speed was a factor in the crash. The truck was believed to have been stolen in the vicinity of 16th Street, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
Seventh Avenue between 13th & 23rd streets and West 14th Street between 6th & 8th avenues are closed as police investigate. Local bus service is being rerouted.
Pena was a 17-year veteran of MTA New York City Transit and was the first bus operator killed in a collision in more than 14 years, the MTA said.
“The entire MTA mourns the tragic loss of Mr. Pena, especially his colleagues at the Michael J. Quill Bus Depot in Manhattan,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Pena’s family, and we are working closely with law enforcement to ensure the perpetrator of this crime is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The safety of our customers and our employees remains our most important priority.”
Pena is survived by his wife and his teenage daughter.