WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A passenger went flying through the windshield of a charter bus headed into Manhattan Tuesday morning during a sudden stop just outside the Lincoln Tunnel.
As CBS2’s Mark Morgan reported, the circumstances might leave people thinking twice about the next time they take a bus.
Stunned passengers could only watch in horror as the scene unfolded right in front of them, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said passenger Erma Hagert of Baltimore. “I mean, the man just went out the window.”
The accident happened around 11 a.m. at JFK Boulevard East and Baldwin Avenue in Weehawken.
The driver of the Baltimore-bound bus, who did not want to be identified, described what happened.
“I came to this traffic light here, the light turned red. I came to a stop and unbeknownst to me, there was somebody standing up in the bus, which I wasn’t aware of,” he told CBS2. “As I came to a stop, he just went right through the windshield.”
When asked how fast he thought he was going, the driver replied, “How fast could I be going?”
“I came to the stop, so I mean I wasn’t going at any fast speed or anything like that,” he said. “He was standing up and he went through the windshield.”
Police said the man – identified as Edward Meerholz of Bel Air, Maryland – was walking down the aisle to the front when the bus stopped.
“He lost his balance and fell and couldn’t regain his balance, and fell through the window – windshield,” said Helen Tucker of Baltimore.
By design, the bus windshield didn’t shatter, but stayed largely in one piece and lay on the ground in front of the bus.
According to one passenger, the driver maintained his composure throughout this harrowing ordeal.
“The bus driver was very calm,” Hagert said. “He was coming to a red light. He was stopping, so he was just slowing up. He didn’t slam on his brakes or anything like that.”
CBS2 spoke to several commuters at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the incident made them consider their safety.
“Oh, I would definitely stay in my seat; you know, listen to the bus driver,” said Jennifer LaSala of North Bergen, New Jersey. “You know, and I wouldn’t be walking around or, you know, moving around.”
“If I do get up, I hold onto the railings, I listen to the bus driver — he gives the directions before we take off,” said Janice Howard of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Meerholz was standing about three rows back, CBS2 reported. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, and was being treated for injuries to his head and shoulder late Tuesday.
The charter bus had about 55 passengers on board at the time. No other injuries were reported.