DETROIT (WWJ) – Emergency crews rushed to Detroit’s east side after a DDOT bus smashed into a building, killing the driver and trapping injured passengers inside.
The accident happened between 6:30 and 7 a.m. Tuesday outside Sanders Dry Cleaning on East Warren Avenue and Haverhill Street.
The bus was apparently traveling eastbound down Warren when the driver veered across the road and slammed into the building. The collision caused the building’s façade to partially collapse, trapping the passengers inside the bus.
“From the positioning of this DDOT bus, it looks like it was traveling down the sidewalk for at least a little bit because it is perpendicular to the building,” WWJ’s Bill Szumanski reported from above the scene in Chopper 950. “Police have Warren completely shut down because there are so many EMS units here lying in wait, and at least eight fire crews.”
Sgt. Eren Stephens said the driver was killed in the collision and five passengers were injured, although their conditions were not released.
Brandi Torbert was on the bus when it crashed. Torbert told WWJ’s Ron Dewey the driver seemed normal when she boarded the bus about four miles earlier at Cadillac and Harper avenues.
“The bus driver, he was going perfectly fine and then we thought he was going on the other side [of the road] to do a detour and turn down a street and then he just ran into the building. It happened so fast,” she said. “We tried to kick the door but we couldn’t get the door open so another man, he opened up the emergency window and we climbed out the window… One passenger bust his whole face, like, his blood was leaking everywhere. Another passenger bust his mouth open.”
Torbert, who was sitting in the back of the bus, wasn’t injured.
The driver’s name was not immediately released.
“This is a tragic day for us at DDOT. We lost one of our own and it’s not something we take lightly,” DDOT Director Dan Dirks said, holding back tears. “We’re a family at DDOT. Our thoughts and our prayers are out to the family of our driver and it’s just a sad day here… He was a veteran driver, that’s all I can tell you right now.”
Utility crews also responded to the scene to assess a gas line that was apparently damaged in the crash.
Police say Warren Avenue will remain closed to traffic until further notice.
An investigation is ongoing.
Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.