YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Los Angeles

13 Hurt as Commuter Bus Hits Car

March 03, 2004|Arlene Martinez and Richard Fausset | Times Staff Writers

A commuter bus crashed into a car on an overpass of the Harbor Freeway in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, injuring 13 people.

The driver, Elizabeth White, who has been with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for two years, blamed the accident on faulty brakes.

White told investigators that the brakes gave out on the 15-ton bus as she was completing a Disneyland-to-downtown trip, MTA spokesman Bill Heard said.

The bus turned off the northbound Harbor Freeway onto Adams Boulevard about 5:45 p.m. and was heading west on the overpass when White noticed the problem, Heard said.

White said she swerved left to avoid a concrete divider, sending the bus into a small sedan. Both vehicles crashed into a guardrail that apparently kept the vehicles from plunging onto the crowded freeway below.

"At this point, I'm just happy that the bus did not go over that bridge," MTA Deputy Chief John Catoe said.

Nine of the 13 bus passengers and four people in the car suffered minor injuries, Los Angeles Police Officer Daniel Andersen said.

White, who was not injured, helped investigators re-create the scene.

"I think she's shaken up," Heard said. "Obviously, this was an unfortunate incident."

The accident is being investigated by Los Angeles police. The 4-year-old bus will be thoroughly examined, Heard said.

White will be given a drug and alcohol test, standard MTA procedure after an accident, Heard said.

"We will review everything that happened," Catoe said.

Although scattered rain fell on Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Adams Boulevard was dry at the time of the crash, and MTA officials said the weather did not appear to have played a role in the crash.

Times staff writer Kurt Streeter contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times Articles