A bus owned and operated by the Duluth Transit Authority was involved in a major accident on the morning of Tuesday, April 15, 2015 after it smashed into a utility pole and collided with temporary concrete walls surrounding a nearby construction site. The bus was then struck by yet another Duluth Transit bus after coming to a stop.
The crash took place near the corner of West Superior Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Duluth when the driver—for reasons unknown—lost control of the vehicle, causing it to swerve out of control, resulting in one person’s death and nearly a dozen injuries. The extent of the injuries has not been reported, though nearly several passengers traveling on both buses involved in the crash were taken to area hospitals for medical evaluation and treatment.
It is not yet known whether mechanical failure may have played a role in this collision. The drivers operating both buses reportedly had very good driving records, with few safety flags over the course of their decades-long careers with Duluth Transit. The drivers were given official commendation for their demonstration of driver safety only one week ago. Officials from Duluth Transit Authority have stated that both buses involved in the crash were rather new and recently inspected, so if mechanical failure were to blame, it would come as a surprise.
One bus operator was treated and released at the scene, while the other was hospitalized for his injuries. At least nine people who were passengers on board one of the buses were taken to a hospital, as well. A witness described people coming off of the out-of-control bus and wandering in a daze, seemingly hurt and confused following the incident.
The investigation into the cause of the accident remains ongoing, and it is not yet known whether charges may be filed as a result of the collision. Both bus drivers will be given toxicology tests in order to determine if drugs or alcohol may have played a contributing part in the crash. The identity of the person who died in the crash has not been released, pending notification of next-of-kin.