A little after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, a late-model, black VW Jetta traveling northbound on Seventh Avenue collided with one of MTS’s red-and-white articulated buses that was eastbound on Broadway.
Although both vehicles had been moving at less than 25 miles per hour, substantial damage was done to the right front quarter-panel of the bus and the left front quarter-panel of the Jetta, which had been traveling in the leftmost lane. The Jetta was pushed across two traffic lanes and came to rest facing the southeast corner of the intersection. On its front bike rack, the bus had been carrying two bicycles. They absorbed some of the force of the impact. Following the accident, both lay twisted and tangled together on the sidewalk where they had been placed.
Responding to the scene of the accident were at least half a dozen SDPD officers, two fire department pumper/paramedic trucks with full crews, two Fire Rescue shift commanders, numerous San Diego Medical Services ambulances with EMT crews, and several MTS supervisors. Traffic was diverted from Seventh Avenue between Broadway and E Streets.
The SDPD’s lead investigators, patrolman Carl Pira and supervising sergeant Mapston, concluded that the Jetta (despite the driver’s denial) had run a red light. Based on the statements of approximately 15 witnesses, the bus had entered the intersection on a green light. Both officers confirmed that seven injured bus passengers and the driver of the Jetta were transported by ambulance to emergency rooms. An eighth injured bus passenger (the owner of one of the damaged bicycles) insisted on obtaining medical care on her own and was transported home by one of the MTS supervisors.
One eyewitness, a pedestrian, stated, “I was walking eastbound on Broadway and was about to cross Seventh Avenue on a pedestrian walk signal when — wham! — the bus and car crashed together right in front of me! I was lucky I hadn’t arrived just a couple seconds earlier.”