One killed as city buses crash in Duluth
By Brady Slater / Duluth News Tribune Officials with the Duluth Transit Authority say at least one person died after two buses crashed Tuesday morning. The accident occurred at 5 a.m on the 400 block of West Superior Street in downtown Duluth. On...
By Brady Slater / Duluth News Tribune
Officials with the Duluth Transit Authority say at least one person died after two buses crashed Tuesday morning.
The accident occurred at 5 a.m on the 400 block of West Superior Street in downtown Duluth.
One witness to the scene said it included eight or 10 ambulances at one point; uninjured passengers were taken away in taxi cabs.
Jim Heilig, director of planning and administration for the Duluth Transit Authority, confirmed the fatality, explaining that the accident involved a bus headed eastbound on Superior Street and another bus westbound.
The driver of the eastbound bus was loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. The other driver was interviewed by police and then taken for drug testing, following federal protocol for an accident involving public transit, Heilig said. There was no immediate word on the number of passengers each bus may have been carrying. Buses start running about 4:30 a.m.
The eastbound bus appeared to have crossed the center lane after first striking a stop sign and signal lights at the Fifth Avenue West intersection with Superior Street. The crash culminated directly in front of the Maurices retail headquarters construction site. The eastbound bus struck an outer concrete barrier at the site but did not strike the building itself.
Kathy Burgess was a passenger on the westbound bus, heading home to West Duluth from her home health care job. She said she was sitting in the front passenger seat.
"I looked up, and here comes a bus flooring it, right into us," she said at the scene after stopping back there later Tuesday morning. Her left arm was in a sling, an injury suffered in the crash.
"I'm lucky to be here," she said. "If it would have impacted a couple inches over, my window would have been hit."
She and other passengers squeezed through a narrow gap in the doors and got away from the wreck because of concerns about leaking diesel.
The Duluth Police Department could not immediately confirm any fatalities in the crash. A chaplain was at the scene, along with traffic crash investigators.
One witness, John Cartier, who was awake at his computer at the time of the crash, said he heard it from his nearby apartment.
“I heard a ‘bang!’” he said. “I thought the crane at the construction site had fallen. It was horrendous.”