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Tire Crashes Through Windshield Of Commuter Bus In New Jersey

RAMSEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Four people were hurt when a tire flew off a car and crashed through the windshield of a commuter bus in New Jersey on Monday morning.

Around 7:30 a.m., a 2009 Lexus heading north on Route 17 near the Ramsey-Upper Saddle River border somehow lost its front, left tire, which then bounced over the median, into the southbound lanes and crashed through the front windshield of a Pine Hill Trailways bus, Ramsey police said.

The tire appeared to be intact and still mounted to the rim, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“It happened so fast, but it was sort of of like crash, smash right through the windshield like a cannonball,” passenger John Ditmars told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

“Next thing you know, there were all kinds of police and ambulances, and I saw the medevac helicopter land across the highway,” witness Jule Omelianuk told Brown.

A 49-year-old Rosendale, N.Y., man who was sitting directly behind the bus driver sustained a serious head injury when he was hit in the face by the tire, police said.

He was airlifted in critical condition to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, police said. The bus driver and two other passengers also suffered minor injuries and were treated at and released from area hospitals.

The woman driving the Lexus was shaken up, but not injured, Brown reported.

Ditmars was sitting next to the man who was critically hurt.

“When I went ahead to feel his pulse on his wrist, he was knocked, he was still alive, and he was responding by gripping my hand really hard,” Ditmars said.

The bus, which had about 50 passengers on board, departed Kingston, N.Y., around 6 a.m. and was bound for New York City at the time of the crash.

The bus company said the driver is one of its most experienced. Witnesses said the incident could have been much worse.

“I don’t know exactly where that tire came off, but to pull that bus to the side of the road without going off the road or hitting another vehicle was a miracle,” said Omelianuk.

Several police departments, as well as the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, responded to the scene to investigate.

The driver of the Lexus is not facing charges.

The investigation is ongoing.

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