A tour bus “flying” down a busy Queens street crashed into an MTA bus Monday, killing 3 people and injuring 16 others. The Dahlia Travel and Tours bus slammed into Q20 bus around 6:15 Am at Northern Blvd and Main St, sending both cars careening onto the sidewalk and killing a pedestrian. The driver of Dahlia bus was among the dead. “The tour bus was flying. When they collided, I felt the vibration” said Mike Ramos 47 years old a construction superintendent who was sitting in his truck nearby. Ramos and a handful of cops were among the first on scene. “There was people pinned under the front of the city bus. A lady was crying and screaming, ‘Get me out! Get me out!’ It was just chaos. One guy had his head split open. A lady was pinned under debris there, in front of the bus. There was a lot of people hurt, a lot of people hurt. It was crazy” he continued. One victim died at scene. A second died at Elmhurst Hospital. A third victim died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens. The pedestrian died after being pinned in crash, NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes said. Six of passengers remained in critical condition, 1 person was in serious but stable condition and 9 others suffered minor injuries.”We’ve had a really tragic morning in Flushing, Queens. Just shocking to see the scene over there. Hard to compare to anything I’ve ever seen, the sheer destruction from the impact of this collision. This is absolutely a very painful moment. We know one of those was simply walking down the sidewalk, maybe on their way to work, when out of nowhere this happens” Mayor de Blasio said at crash site. He added that several victims were fighting for their lives. Tour bus was traveling east on Northern Blvd. when it crashed into the MTA bus, which was making a right turn onto Northern Blvd from Main St, Holmes told. There were 15 passengers aboard Q20. The impact sent buses spinning onto sidewalk, damaging 2 parked cars and smashing into a Kennedy Fried Chicken and T-Mobile store.
“That Dahlia bus must’ve hit it at such an impact that it spun. There’s no way that bus should be facing this way. That’s the problem, downtown Flushing is just too congested. We need these tour buses out of Flushing” Sherrell Jordan 42 years old said. MTA Chairman Joe Lhota echoed many witnesses stunned by impact. “The buses spun around. That requires an enormous amount of speed. We need to maintain a certain level of low speed in city of New York” Lhota told. Since 2015 Dahlia has been cited for 7 unsafe driving violations, including 5 for speeding.
Photos from scene showed the driver of Q20 bus sitting on sidewalk leaning against a light pole, in shock. Lhota said the driver, who has 10 years of experience, wasn’t in critical condition and speaking to investigators. Another man was lying on his side next to driver, receiving treatment from a firefighter. A bloodied man was removed on a stretcher wearing a neck brace. Broken glass was scattered all over block. Young Lim 62 years old said her husband was sitting in a silver Toyota SUV when crash occurred behind him, throwing him forward. “He hurt his neck, his back, his legs” she told. She rushed to scene after the crash and found her husband lying on ground. “He said, ‘Honey I can’t move, I’m in too much pain’” she said. Her husband was recovering at Elmhurst Hospital. NYPD’s 109th Precinct, in a post on Twitter, wrote that collision was “very serious” and caused heavy traffic delays. FDNY extinguished a small fire and shut off leaking gas in a nearby building that was struck by ricocheting buses. De Blasio told inspectors were still assessing damage to building. Officials will also examine traffic safety measures at intersection. In February 2016, a Dahlia Travel and Tours bus bound for Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut rolled over during a snowstorm. Around 2 dozen people were taken to hospital. The tour company is based in Flushing.