A passenger bus carrying almost three dozen passengers was involved in an accident last week on I-55, the Stevenson Expressway in the Chicago area. The bus was a PACE bus, one of the vehicles that provides bus service to the suburban Chicago area and connects a variety of communities. The accident injured three passengers, though their injuries were described as minor by state police.
The PACE bus was driving on the shoulder of Interstate 55 at 7:30 in the morning under the guidelines of a special program that allows the high-occupancy vehicle to utilize the shoulder during rush hour. The shoulder program is also intended to increase ridership on the popular public busses. The accident took place when another vehicle which was also reported to be a bus attempted to enter the shoulder from the traffic lane. On doing so they hit the PACE bus near its front door, preventing the passengers from being able to exit. Another vehicle is also said to have been involved in the accident, though details are not clear as to the third vehicle’s involvement.
Emergency teams were required to remove the door of the bus in order to extricate the passengers. Three on board were taken off of the Pace bus on stretchers and were taken to nearby MacNeal Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The rest of the passengers awaited transfer onto the next scheduled Pace bus. The scene of the accident was quickly cleared.
Pace buses have been involved in a number of crashes over the last several months, including an accident in March that killed a passenger. In that incident the driver of the Pace bus had swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian and the bus hit a light pole. The crash killed a 58-year old passenger. Almost a year to the day before the I-55 accident a Pace bus and a car were involved in a crash that injured sixteen passengers. In that incident none of the injuries were life threatening.
Pace buses carry thousands of passengers every day in the Chicago area.