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Article published April 25, 2013
Train hits bus, 11 injured
EVANS CITY — A crash involving a BART bus and a train this morning injured 11 people. About 8:10 a.m. the bus was headed east on Maple Avenue. When it came to a railroad crossing, the driver stopped to look for trains. When the driver did not see anything, he proceeded to drive and was hit on its driver’s side by a train, according to Mike Robb, executive director of the Alliance for Nonprofit Resources, which oversees BART. He also said there was heavy fog: “It is my understanding that visibility was very limited this morning due to the fog.” The train, which appeared to be hauling tankers, did not derail and was halted on the track, which is owned by Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad. There is no gate or lights at the crossing. Two passengers were taken by medical helicopters to Pittsburgh hospitals. The driver and remaining passengers were taken by ambulances to hospitals. According to Allegheny General Hospital spokesman Dan Laurent, three men involved in the crash, ages 35, 38 and 75, arrived at the hospital by ambulance. A woman involved in the crash, age unknown, arrived by medical helicopter. Laurent said the four patients’ conditions still were being evaluated as of 10 a.m. The 10 passengers were either developmentally disabled or senior citizens. All on the bus were headed to different locations. Officials did not release the names of any of the passengers or the driver. Robb said that it is BART’s standard procedure to investigate bus drivers following accidents. Evans City police were in charge of the accident scene. Assisting were police from Adams, Cranberry Township, Middlesex Township and state police. Emergency crews from Evans City, Callery, Cranberry, Harmony and Zelienople are on scene. Ambulances from Cranberry, Quality and Harmony responded. Emergency crews called medical helicopters to the scene. A police officer said that the bus was knocked on an embankment and was still on its wheels. Dee Batykefer, manager of the Uni Express convenience store in the borough, said she heard the train coming, but not its impact with the BART bus. She said responders arrived within five minutes of the crash and blocked off Mars-Evans City Road, which runs beside her store. Batykefer said the accident happened on Maple Avenue, which is the first street on the right off Mars-Evans City Road if traveling south from Main Street. She said she didn’t know the train’s speed when it hit the bus, but that train speeds vary as they travel through the borough. She said she can’t remember a train accident occurring in the 19 years she has worked at the store. Jamie Mays lives on Harrison Street about one block from the scene. “I just heard all the sirens going off and it was time for the kids to go to school on the buses and my first thought was that it was a school bus and I was scared to death,” Mays said. Borough council vice-president Lee Dyer said he hasn’t experienced an accident with a train in the 15 years he has lived in Evans City. “We certainly hope those people are all right, and the town is ready to do whatever is necessary to help in any way possible,” Dyer said.