One man was killed and seven people were injured when a small car collided with a crowded bus Friday afternoon during rush hour in downtown San Diego, sending the bus lumbering up onto a sidewalk and through a utility pole.
The 32-year-old driver of the car, a San Diegan whose identity was being withheld pending notification of next of kin, died of head and internal injuries at UC San Diego Medical Center a few hours after the 4:30 p.m. accident, police said.
Six passengers and the driver of the San Diego Transit bus suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Mercy Hospital and UCSD Medical Center, according to police spokesman Bill Robinson.
Several of the injured complained of neck and back injuries. The passengers, who were all treated and released: Eula Collins, 56; Reginald Fuller, 22; Veronica Tobey, 44; Karita Randle, 28; Wuana Garcia, age unknown, and Eliza Brown, age unknown. All are from San Diego.
Matthew Silva, 17, of San Diego was a passenger in another car involved in the accident. He complained of pain in his neck and back but refused treatment, police said.
The accident occurred when a car being driven by the man who was killed exited westbound California 94 where the freeway ends and merges onto F Street and ran a red light, clipping the car Silva was riding in, which was stopped for the traffic signal at 16th Street.
The first car, traveling faster than 50 m.p.h., then whipped into the intersection and slammed into the southbound bus, which was carrying 30 passengers en route from Kensington to Spring Valley.
Robinson said the force of the collision pushed the bus onto a sidewalk, where it plowed through a traffic-signal standard before stopping. No pedestrians were injured.
The car, which was crushed by the collision, was pulled along the side of the bus for part way down the block on 16th Street.
The initial investigation by traffic officers indicated that the man who was killed had been drinking, Robinson said.
Police said the bus driver, Seamon D. James, 41, of San Diego, was among the most seriously injured, complaining of neck injuries.
After the accident, traffic was diverted onto side streets and uninjured passengers were transferred to another bus. A police barricade was still at the scene six hours after the accident.
Deborah Wetter, a San Diego Transit spokeswoman, said the transit district dispatched its own investigators to the scene, but that no conclusions will be drawn for several days.