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Orange Line bus crash hurts 17

One passenger is seriously injured as a delivery truck and the crowded MTA vehicle collide in the east San Fernando Valley.

October 24, 2006|Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writer

A crowded Orange Line bus collided with a delivery truck in the east San Fernando Valley on Monday afternoon, leaving one person seriously hurt and 16 others apparently with minor injuries, authorities said.

The accident occurred as local officials were preparing for today's ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of the heavily used, 14-mile Orange Line service.

It also happened at the same spot -- Woodman Avenue and Oxnard Street near Los Angeles Valley College -- of an Orange Line crash last November. That crash, on the service's fifth day of operation, was one of the most serious Orange Line accidents, with 15 injured people taken to hospitals.

In Monday's accident, the person most seriously hurt was described as a 23-year-old woman who was a passenger on the bus. Ron Myers, a spokesman with the Los Angeles Fire Department, said she had internal abdominal injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Myers said the other injuries appeared to be minor. In all, 13 people were taken to five San Fernando Valley hospitals for treatment, and an additional four of those injured were attended to at the accident site.

Los Angeles police, aided by other agencies, will continue investigating the accident and look into whether the driver of the white truck ran a red light, officials said.

The crash occurred about 3:45 p.m. as the Orange Line bus was heading toward its eastern terminus in North Hollywood, and as the truck was heading south on Woodman. Authorities described it as a "low-impact" collision in which the truck hit the side of the bus.

In all, about 80 people were on the 57-seat bus, many of them standing.

Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the crash was the 10th Orange Line accident in which someone was hurt since the service began Oct. 29, 2005.

He said, however, that the Orange Line has transported passengers over 1.4 million miles over the last year with an accident rate less than half that of the MTA's overall fleet of buses. The high-capacity buses run on a dedicated right of way from Woodland Hills to North Hollywood, where many of its passengers transfer to the Red Line subway.

The Orange Line, which carries about 21,000 passengers a day, "is one of our safest buses, hands down," Sotero said.

Orange Line riders were taken on a detour around the accident site well into the evening, but normal service was expected to be restored later in the night.

stuart.silverstein@latimes.com

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