A bus crash in the heart of Allapattah sent more than two dozen people to the hospital with injuries, left the bus wedged against the exterior wall of a furniture store, and tied up traffic on one of Miami’s main thoroughfares for the entire rush hour.
Thursday morning’s crash at the intersection of Northwest 36th Street and 15th Avenue also resulted in police taking custody of the man driving the SUV that the bus tried to avoid, though he was detained because of an outstanding warrant in an unrelated case, police said.
Most of the injured, many of them Miami Jackson High School students, were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
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The driver of the Miami-Dade Transit bus had to be removed from the vehicle by Miami Fire Rescue workers who cut away metal to reach him. His injuries were worse than his passengers, but not life-threatening.
Also among the injured was the daughter of the man drIving the SUV, who was identified as Natashus Registe, 34. Police arrested him on a bench warrant and cited him for running a stop sign.
Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll referred to the victims as “walking wounded,” primarily because they sustained mostly cuts and bruises.
Carroll said the bus was traveling west on 36th Street and the SUV south on 15th Aveneue when the driver swerved to avoid the SUV turning at the intersection.
The bus went over the sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection and hit the wall of a warehouse that sells home fixtures.
“It crashed and it started smoking and everything,” passenger Rhina Irias told Miami Herald news partner CBS4. “People fell, they flipped and they had to open the window to come out of the window.”
Said passenger Charles Canoe: “It was horrifying. I thought I was gonna die.”
The accident happened at the start of rush hour just before 6:30 a.m., as people were headed to work, and kids were on their way to school. County buses don’t have seat belts.
Northwest 36th Street between 14th and 17th avenues remained closed long after the morning rush hour was over as workers removed the bus from the storefront.
Thursday was a bad morning for commuters throughout Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Romelio Martinez said two other unrelated incidents also in the Northwest 36th Street area in Allapattah contributed to traffic tie-ups there for hours.
There was also an incident in North Miami in which a Nissan ran a stop sign at Northeast 12th Avenue and 147th Street, then crashed into a home. Two other cars were reportedly involved in that incident, two people were sent to the hospital, and the Nissan was heavily damaged.