Guardrail prevents tragedy after SI bus crash

August 3, 2011 9:08:54 AM PDT
A wrong turn nearly ended in tragedy when a bus carrying a minor-league baseball team collided with an SUV on Staten Island.

The bus smashed into a guardrail and dangled from an overpass.

Six people suffered minor injuries, but those involved say they are just thankful it wasn't worse.

The accident happened at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and involved the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Philadelphia Phillies short-season Class A team, following a game with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

"Thank god man everybody's good happy to be alive," one passenger said.

A guardrail is all that stood between the 20-ton Trailways bus and a plunge from the overpass onto the Staten Island Expressway, as the lives of 52 people on board hung in the balance.

Some panicked, jumping from windows. Firefighters had to cut the bus off the guardrail.

"Somebody just screamed, and we looked up, and we feel the car hit us," a passenger said. "And we hit the railing, and then and looked down, and we just see that we're literally five feet from falling off the railing. So thank God everybody's good, everybody is safe. We escaped from the window."

The driver had apparently gotten lost on the way from Coney Island to their Brooklyn hotel and crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island. Realizing his mistake, he was on the Fingerboard Road overpass when the bus collided with the SUV. That driver claims the bus ran a red light.

An eyewitness says the bus ricocheted off the SUV and got hung up on the guardrail. Without it, officials say the bus would surely have gone off the overpass and rolled down the embankment to the expressway below.