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1 killed, 19 injured in school bus collision

The minutes after the fatal school bus crash in Boyle Heights on Monday were tense for students and their parents.
October 26, 2010 12:47:24 AM PDT
At least two vehicles, including a school bus, were involved in a collision in Boyle Heights Monday afternoon.The collision occurred at 2332 E. 1st St. at Soto Street at about 3:22 p.m. Traffic in the area was shut down during the investigation. Soto Street was fully closed north- and southbound at 1st Street

A man in his late 50s was killed in the collision. No students were killed.

A school bus was overturned on the street. At least two other vehicles were involved.

According to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and a California Highway Patrol spokesman, a black BMW sedan traveling eastbound on 1st Street ran a red light at Soto Street, a three-stoplight intersection, and struck and killed a pedestrian, then continued through the intersection, striking the school bus.

The bus was traveling southbound on Soto Street from the East Los Angeles Skills Center en route to Roosevelt High School.

The BMW broadsided the bus. The bus driver lost control and the bus turned over on its side.

Sergio Montieo was sitting in the front of the bus behind the driver talking to his friend when all of sudden the crash came out of nowhere.

"Everyone was crying, screaming, paranoid, running around," Montieo said. "They were shocked to see the dead person on the ground. He was bleeding. His face was all bruised up. It was just shocking."

Montieo injured his left hand.

"The bus driver broke the windshield in the front and that's how all the students got out of the bus," he said. "We crawled out through the front window."

Two individuals in the BMW fled on foot after the collision. They were captured immediately by a construction worker, according to authorities. The two suspects were turned over to the LAPD, then to the CHP.

The two individuals were evaluated by fire department personnel for injuries. It was also to be determined whether the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol.

The driver of the sedan could face criminal homicide charges, but Beck cautioned the investigation was still in its early stages and all information was preliminary.

The black BMW is registered to Erasmo Reyes. It was not clear if either of the two detained suspects was Reyes.

Monday evening it was confirmed by the CHP that three juveniles were in the car. Two of them remained hospitalized Monday night. The third juvenile, the driver, was in custody and charged with felony fatal hit-and-run.

Los Angeles City Fire Department, LAPD and CHP personnel arrived immediately to the scene of the collision to investigate and treat patients.

The school bus was from Roosevelt High School, according to the principal of that school. The students were reportedly being driven from the East Los Angeles Skills Center to Roosevelt High when the collision occurred. The center is a satellite campus for Roosevelt.

The LAFD revised its earlier report of students injured: There were 25 non-injured students, and 18 students were transported to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. A total of 44 individuals were riding on the bus during the collision.

The school bus driver was transported to a hospital in critical condition; that was later revised to serious condition.

It was earlier reported that 54 students were riding on the bus; 38 sustained minor injuries; 16 students needed "basic life support" treatment and were transported to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. That information was revised.

All children were in "satisfactory condition," according to fire officials.

Rescue personnel arrived on scene and immediately set up triage areas to treat patients.

According to the LAFD, upon arriving at the scene firefighters found "multiple hazards," including a fuel spill.

Firefighters helped with extricating students from the bus.

Rescue personnel set up color-coded tarpaulins at the triage scene where patients were placed according to severity of injuries: red tarp for the most serious, yellow tarp for less serious and green tarp for the least serious injuries. By 4:30 p.m., the triage area had been cleaned up and removed.

Serious injuries were transported to Roosevelt High School's athletic field, where LAFD helicopters were waiting to transport patients to hospitals.

Police officials have instructed parents to go to Hollenbeck Police Station for more information, located at 2111 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles, (323) 342-4100.

Parents seeking information from Roosevelt High School can call (323) 780-6500.

The CHP investigates school-bus collision incidents.

Authorities were seeking witnesses to the incident. A Metro Rail station is located nearby and multiple witnesses were thought to have seen the incident.

One witness on scene told ABC7 the fatality was a man riding a bicycle. The witness also said she saw two men leave a black vehicle and run away. She said they came back to retrieve a gun.

A heavy-duty tow vehicle arrived on scene at 4:30 p.m. to pull the overturned school bus upright.

All injured had been reportedly been transported by 4:50 p.m.

Eddie Ysaac heard the loud boom from a block away. He called his wife and cousin and they ran to the scene to help free the students trapped inside the bus.

"There were some kids coming out with blood from their eyes," Ysaac said. "My big concern was the safety of the kids because I've got four kids myself."

A four-door black sedan could be seen behind the overturned bus. The front end of the sedan was completely demolished. A second school bus was upright on the side of the street between the crushed sedan and the overturned school bus.

Metro bus lines 30, 251, 252, 605, 620 and 751 were detoured around the intersection of 1st and Soto streets. The Metro Gold Line is bypassing the Soto station.

The investigation and clean-up were expected to take several hours. The LAPD and the CHP were investigating the collision jointly.


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