PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A bus operator was injured when a NJ TRANSIT bus lost control and crashed into a building in Paterson Friday morning.
The incident happened around 7:15 a.m. at 4th Avenue and E. 26th Street when the bus plowed into the side of a carpet and fabric store, according to the transit agency.
The bus had just finished its route when it slid backwards down a hill because of the icy conditions, officials said.
“I would venture to guess that they probably lost control based on the fact that the bus went in backwards. That probably turned out to be a good thing for the driver,” Michael Posterino with the Paterson Fire Department said. “When I went out earlier, the roads were slippery, extremely slippery.”
Witnesses said that the bus came careening down a hill and was close to hitting homes and an electrical pole. Residents were thankful that their houses were spared.
When it finally came to a stop the back of the bus was rammed so far into the fabric distribution building that it looked like a garage.
The loud crash woke up people in the neighborhood.
“I heard a loud boom. So I know they were cleaning the streets so I thought it was a dump truck or one of the salt trucks with the plow falling and then I hear loud screams,” local resident Malik Dixon told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “The bus driver, I could tell she was a woman, she just started screaming uncontrollably.”
Fire officials deemed the building safe around 9 a.m. and began slowly towing the bus out.
An 8-foot by 10-foot hole was left in the side of the tan building, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.
The store and the bus were unoccupied at the time, though the driver did sustain minor injuries. She was shaken up following the incident, Burrell reported.
The owners of Needlepoint Inc allowed CBS 2’s cameras inside to survey the costly damage.
“It is upsetting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t but the driver is okay. The building is still standing. We’ll still have a business,” owner Sam Steen said, “Maybe it will last another 70 years.”
Workers were at the scene measuring and patching up the hole by late morning.
Residents said the incident could have been much worse.
“She could have knocked down that entire pole with all the wires and hot wires and it could have really been bad for her,” Dixon told Burrell.
No one was inside of the building at the time of the crash. The driver walked away with minor injuries.
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