Staten Island school bus crash leaves 8 hurt

Lisa Colagrossi reports from Staten Island
October 30, 2013 1:57:12 PM PDT
Several children were among the injured when a mini school bus overturned on Staten Island Wednesday morning.

The bus flipped at the intersection of Oakdale Street and Preston Avenue in the Eltingville section after it was struck by a pickup truck around 7:30 a.m.

The driver of the pickup truck is an off-duty member of the FDNY who was driving his daughter to school.

Eight people were injured and taken to Staten Island University Hospital North, but none of the injuries are believed to be life threatening.

The victims include four special needs students from the bus, the bus driver, a matron and both passengers in the truck. The injured were seen being loaded into ambulances on stretchers.

"I heard the impact, I looked up and the bus was on its side," one witness said. "I could see the children being pulled out. I saw people being pulled out. So it was a good sign."

"I was the one who opened the back door," said one of the students, Ehab Othman, who spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News. ('Were the other kids scared?') "I think so. Some cried".

8-year old Ehab was riding on the bus at about 7:45 a.m., at the intersection of Oakdale Street and Preston Avenue.

The father of the driver of the pickup showed up shortly after the accident.

"They would be coming this way to go to the high school and there's no stop sign for them, but there's is a stop sign on the side street," he said.

Where, sources tell Eyewitness News, the bus deriver did not come to a complete stop.

10 year old Eduardo Reyes was also on the bus.

('Did the bus stop at the stop sign?') "Yes and then a car came and didn't stop and crashed," Eduardo said. ('And you weren't scared?') "No, I was brave."

People living in the area heard the crash and weren't surprised, saying for more than a decade, they have begged officials to either put in more stop signs or speed bumps.

"We've written various letters regarding how truly dangerous this block is," said resident Maria Martarella. "It is a speedway, because people try to reach from Richmond Avenue to Arden Avenue to make the green light. They have no regard for the people on this block."

The victims are still being evaluated, but are said to be in stable condition.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, and no charges have yet been filed.