In a freak accident, four passengers were injured when their commuter bus was struck by a car tire that crashed through the windshield of their vehicle. The bus was heading south on New Jersey’s Route 17 when a northbound 2009 Lexus lost its front left tire. The tire, complete with its rim, flew over the median into oncoming traffic and crashed through the windshield of the bus, wreaking havoc. The bus driver skillfully maneuvered the vehicle onto the shoulder, avoiding additional injuries or accidents.
The incident took place at approximately 7:30 in the morning. The Pine Hill Trailways bus was heading to New York City from its starting point of Kingston, New York when the incident occurred. According to passenger John Ditmars, “It happened so fast, but it was sort of like crash, smash, right through the windshield like a cannonball.”
Witnesses to the scene indicated that shortly afterwards there was a strong police and ambulance response, and a medevac helicopter arrived to transport the injured away. One man, a 49-year old from Rosendale, New York, was sitting immediately behind the driver and was hit in the face by the tired. He was seriously injured and taken by airlift in critical condition to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey. Also injured were the bus driver and two other passengers who were all treated and released on the same day.
The driver that lost the tire of her vehicle managed to pull over and was not injured, though she was severely shaken by the incident. At the time of the accident the bus was carrying approximately fifty passengers. According to one witness to the accident, the bus driver’s response to the emergent situation was remarkable. “I don’t know exactly where that tire came off, but to pull that bus to the side of the road without going off the road or hitting another vehicle was a miracle.” According to the bus company, the driver has a long record with the company and is one of their most experienced. Many agreed that the situation would have been much worse without his quick thinking.
Though the accident was investigated by local police departments and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, no charges have been filed against the driver of the Lexus.