Summit County: New Stage bus hit by distracted driver
Ryan Summerlin January 24, 2013
One of the new black Summit Stage buses suffered an estimated $80,000 in damage after it collided with an oncoming pickup truck that ran over the median early Tuesday morning on Highway 9 near Summit High School.
The driver of both the bus and the pick-up were treated for minor injuries. The only passenger on the bus was uninjured, according to Stage officials.
The crash closed the highway for more than an hour Tuesday morning.
The driver of the pickup was reportedly distracted before he drifted off the southbound lanes of Hwy. 9, over-corrected and traveled across the median and crashed into the bus head-on.
The collision caused the truck to spin off down the side of the bus, breaking its windshield and then shattering several side windows.
A shard of glass got into the bus driver’s eye during the initial impact. The bus traveled off the right side of the road, but the driver was able to bring it to a safe stop in a field alongside the highway, transit officials said.
“He did a magnificent job of hanging on to it,” Summit Stage director John Jones said. “It could have flipped over if he hadn’t been heads up. When he realized it was going to go off the road, he just floored it until it came to rest in a relatively level spot.”
The only passenger on the bus was seated near the back and walked away from the accident, officials said. She reportedly sent an email to the Summit Stage thanking the driver for how he handled the situation.
Authorities with Colorado State Patrol could not confirm whether a citation was issued following the crash.
Transit officials were able to drive the damaged bus back to the Summit Stage garage, but it will likely be out of commission for five to six months for repairs.
The damaged bus was one of eight hand-me-down coaches the Summit Stage inherited from the Front Range Express, a Colorado Springs transit system that was discontinued last year.
The Stage purchased all eight buses for $224,000, approximately $28,000 each. It is expected to cost upwards of $80,000 to repair the 4-year-old coach damaged in Tuesday’s crash.
“If we had to replace that unit it would cost half a million dollars,” Jones said.