Crash sends bus into building Sunday, injuring 3; here’s an eyewitness account
An accident between a charter bus and an SUV resulted in three injuries as well as the bus crashing into a building near the intersection of Ambaum Blvd. SW and SW 136th in Burien Sunday night (Jan. 26).
The accident, which happened around 8 p.m., caused a large Snoqualmie Casino Charter Bus to crash into an empty building attached to the north side of Burien Imports, located at 13624 Ambaum Blvd SW.
There were no passengers on the bus, but the driver was seriously injured. The cause of the accident is not yet known.
“The driver of the bus is on her way to Harborview,” Sgt. Cindi West told The B-Town Blog. “She was alert and conscious. Both people in the other car went to Highline Medical Center in Burien.”
“I just drove by there and it’s major…” Deirdre Bagocki wrote on our Facebook page. “There were already many police, fire trucks and ambulances there and 2 more were driving toward the accident as I took a detour. It looked like they were using a metal cutter to open the door of a business.”
UPDATE MONDAY Jan. 27, 2014: Here’s an eyewitness account from someone who was first on the scene, yet wants to remain anonymous:
I was driving north on Ambaum at around 7:30. The fog was pretty thick. I was about 75 yards from the intersection of 136th and Ambaum, almost to the building the bus wrecked into. All of a sudden I saw the bus cross all the lanes right in front of me (heading east) and disappear behind the building. I quickly looked to my left and saw the Escalade (SUV) wrecked on the other side of the street. I remember thinking that bus was going way too fast into the parking lot and there is no way it could stop in time. By the time I looked back to my right I saw the bus had crashed half way into the building. I stopped immediately. Backing my truck off of Ambaum and I front of the building I got out as quick as I could. I ran up to the side of the building where the bus had gone in screaming “is anyone in there, are you ok!?” I then ran around to the other side of the bus (drivers side) and jumped up onto the wall where the window broke out. I pounded on the windows screaming again “is anyone in there, are you ok!?” I tried opening the windows. Some of theme were slightly opened. I couldn’t open any of them. I jumped down from the wall into the building onto all the rubble. Climbing up to see if the driver was there and ok, still screaming for survivors, all I found was cinder blocks and glass covering the drivers seat. Every part of the front of the bus was completely mangled. I turned around, jumped back over the wall, running to my truck to get my hammer. I couldn’t see in the bus to see if there was anyone inside. I was going to break the windows and get inside. Running back to the bus with my hammer I yelled to the people standing around to help and call 911. One of the men from the store followed me back into the building. I jumped up onto the wall to break the windows. The tinted layer of glass fell away and I could now see inside. I could not see anyone. I was still screaming for survivors. Heard nothing. By now the man from the store had crawled inside the bus over the mound of rubble and through the windshield. I heard someone scream “there is someone over here!” I jumped down from the wall, ran around the back of the bus, and to the broken window near the front of the building. I saw a woman leaning over a body, screaming for help. The body was lifeless, not moving and covered in debris. I jumped into the building and ran over to them. She was now holding the woman. I told her not to move her. I knew help would be there soon. We still couldn’t find the driver. I yelled to the man in the bus telling him to shut it off, it was still running. Still screaming for survivors, running around, looking for the driver, I began to worry the building was going to collapse on us. Knowing the exterior wall was now gone, and the beam above our heads sagging, I thought it for sure was coming down. I was trying to watch the ceiling, scream for survivors, and make sure nothing fell on the woman who was just lying on a pile of rubble. By now the police had shown up. They were frantically trying to figure out what was going on. I told them I had not found the driver yet. I thought the woman on the ground was hit by the bus and ended up in the building. By now she started regaining consciousness. She was scared, crying, trying to move,bleeding from her head. The woman that was holding her was yelling that she could not hold her because she was trying to move. There were holes in the interior walls of the building. I thought I was from someone being ejected from the bus. Maybe the driver. It was really dusty inside the building. Hard to breath. With the cops looking through the building looking for the driver or anyone else the firefighters arrived. With them all taking control, I didn’t want to leave without knowing the woman that was laying on the ground was ok. I stepped outside with the bus still running. Still holding my hammer. I went to the back of the bus. There was two officers by me. We were all trying to figure out how to open the engine compartment to shut the bus off. I used my hammer to pry it open. With all the adrenaline running through me I got my fingers behind the panel and quickly tore the whole panel off. I found the switch and shut off the bus. By now the woman was in an ambulance. I called my girlfriend. Talked to one of the officers and gave him my information. They said I could leave so I did.
That is how I remember it all.
Here’s surveillance video courtesy KIRO-TV showing the bus hitting the building: