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Mayor rides bus w/ students day after crash

October 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights returned to school Tuesday, one day after a deadly hit-and-run crash involving a school bus.School counselors and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rode the bus with the students to send the message that it's still safe to take the bus to school.

"They may be feeling anxiety, anger, some manifestation of trauma, and that's normal in situations like this," said Villaraigosa.

A 17-year-old driver is in custody after allegedly killing a pedestrian and slamming into the school bus filled with students at 1st and Soto streets.

The driver and two other teenagers were detained after running from the scene of the crash on Monday.

The bus driver remained in the hospital in fair condition on Tuesday morning. At least three students were still in the hospital with minor injuries.

50 students were on the overturned bus. A total of 18 students were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The bus was heading back to Roosevelt High School from East Los Angeles Skills Center where students attend class because of overcrowding.

The intersection was shut down for several hours. Police said a teenage driver of a BMW ran a red light, hit and killed a pedestrian and then broadsided a school bus, causing it to flip over.

The driver of the BMW and two passengers fled the scene on foot, but they didn't get very far. A construction worker, Mario Morales, saw two of the young men running from the scene and jumped into action. Morales chased them down and turned them over to police.

"When I looked over at the carport, I kinda saw these two heads behind the truck. So I wanted to get the jump on them, so I ran over there real quick behind the truck and I think I startled them because they just stared at me. And I noticed that they were just kind of in shock. So before they could say anything or do anything, that's when I grabbed them and I said 'OK, let's go guys,'" said Morales.

The two teenagers were arrested. A third suspect was later arrested when he showed up at a hospital.

The driver and his passengers will be booked at the Eastlake Juvenile Hall. The driver could face felony hit-and-run charges as well as homicide charges.

Student Sergio Montieo was on the overturned bus and said there was a lot of shock among the students.

"There was girls crying. Everyone was just like paranoid, crying, screaming, running around. They were shocked to see someone laying on the ground. It was like shocking, he was like bleeding. His face was all bruised up. It was just shocking," said Montieo.

Some students were wondering why there were no seatbelts on the bus.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines said that the district is abiding by the law in regards to that issue.

"We are going to follow the law. The law does not say that you have to have seatbelts," said Cortines.


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