KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A car slammed into a Kalamazoo Metro Transit bus on Wednesday, sending both drivers to the hospital with serious injuries.
The crash happened around 7:20 p.m. in the area of W. Michigan Avenue/South Street at Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says the car was traveling at a high rate of speed and may have left the road at some point before the collision.
“From those marks (near the crash scene), we’re kind of guessing that the car was not driving through the intersection. It was headed northeast … but not necessarily driving on the street,” KDPS Sgt. Kristie Hofer said.
Just as the bus got the green light, it was struck head-on. A passenger told 24 Hour News 8 that the driver had just taken her foot off the brake when the crash happened.
A KDPS officer stopped at a red light saw the crash happen and helped passengers off the bus immediately after. Four of the six passengers on board were taken to the hospital with minor, non-life-threatening injuries, Hofer said.
“We had to get out of the window. The paramedics and stuff helped us out. It was smoky. It was just really, really scary,” passenger Chanell McPherson said. “I just want to thank God I’m alive.”
Both the driver of the bus and the driver of the car — who was the only person in that vehicle — were pinned in an had to be extricated. KDPS says both sustained “significant” injuries and were in surgery early Wednesday night.
Police said Thursday morning the bus driver had to have part of her leg amputated. Both drivers were in critical but stable condition, officers said.
Police are still investigating whether drugs or alcohol could have played a factor in the wreck.
W. Michigan Avenue was shut down in both directions for hours while emergency responders were on the scene.
This is the second time this month a Metro Transit bus has been involved in a crash. In both instances, the bus drivers were not at fault.
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–24 Hour News 8’s Lynsey Mukomel contributed to this report.