The crash, which occurred at around 5 a.m. Wednesday at the southwest corner of 5th Street and South Broadway, sent the flat-bed tow truck careening into a 7-Eleven. A clerk at the store suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Both the bus driver, 47-year-old Olivia Gamboa of Montebello, and the driver of the tow truck, 43-year-old Yosef Adhami, were transported to an area hospital to be treated for serious injuries. The bus driver later died, while the tow truck driver was in critical condition.
According to police, the bus was headed westbound, while the tow truck was headed southbound on Broadway. Witnesses say the bus was stopped in the intersection and waiting to take a turn.
Investigators believe the tow truck was traveling at a high rate of speed and ran a red light. Authorities believe the tow truck was going at about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Investigators say the tow truck crashed into the bus, and then slammed right into the 7-Eleven, which sits on the corner of a multi-story brick building. Los Angeles Building and Safety Department officials were dispatched to the scene to assess the structural integrity of the building. They will determine if the building, which contains residential units, needs to be red-tagged.
The accident happened in the early morning hours - a time when downtown streets are relatively quiet. Just an hour later, the sidewalks would have been teeming with pedestrians.
In addition to crashing into the convenience store, the truck also sheared off a fire hydrant, sending a plume of water up into the air.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Adhami has a long list of suspensions. And during his last one, he surrendered his driver's license.
Gamboa's coworkers and family members gathered Wednesday night at a growing memorial at the crash site.
"It's hard losing a friend, a coworker, somebody you've know for a long time. I'm still numb," said friend Alfred Uribe.