School, Commuter Bus Involved In Old Bridge Accident [VIDEO]
Route 9 northbound reopened today near Jake Brown Road in Old Bridge after an accident involving a loaded Academy Bus and a small school bus had closed the roadway and caused numerous injuries at the end of the Thursday's morning commute .
Old Bridge Police said two adults and no children were aboard the small school bus, which was attempting to make a right turn on Arcade Lane but collided with an Academy bus in the shoulder of the roadway shortly after 8AM.
The school bus, which wasn't carrying children, toppled onto a power supply station in front of an apartment complex. The commuter bus went off the road and traveled another 60 yards before hitting a telephone pole and smashing into a tree. Police were reviewing a video captured by a camera aboard the Academy bus to help determine what happened, but Weiss said it appeared the collision occurred "during a lane change of some sort."
The shoulder becomes a bus lane during morning and evening commutes.
Passengers on the Academy bus opened emergency windows to escape, and rescue teams were able to pry open the front door. The tree caved in the front of the bus, shattering its windshield, and a large branch protruded from the vehicle's roof.
The school bus windshield also was smashed, as were several windows on its left side. Power to the apartment complex was initially cut off as a precaution and later restored, police said. A sewage pumping system located near the power supply station was knocked out, and crews were working to restore it Thursday afternoon.
"We are fortunate that we do not believe there are going to be any fatalities associated with this accident, though there are some serious injuries," said Robert Weiss, Captain of the Old Bridge Police Department.
An Academy Bus spokesman identifies the driver as Daniel Jean-Pierre of Barnegat. He has been driving for Academy since May. He has a clean driving record and suffered leg injuries.
TV footage showed nearly a dozen rescue workers trying to free the driver who will be taken from the scene via a medical helicopter.
The Academy bus struck a tree; a tree can be seen piercing the front of the Academy bus.
The bus started its trip in Toms River; it made 42 stops before the crash and had five more to make before arriving on Wall Street. As many as 55 passengers can be on board an Academy Bus, but it was carrying 33 or 34 at the time of the incident.
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Leanne Vuksanic, Matthew White, Bob Williams, Dino Flammia and the Associated Press contributed to this story.