1 Dead, 2 Injured In Metro Bus Vs. Tow Truck Crash In Jewelry District Downtown
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bus driver was killed and two people were injured Wednesday following a collision between a Metro bus and a flatbed tow truck in downtown Los Angeles.
The accident happened at 457 S. Broadway, near 5th Street, in the Jewelry District around 5:15 a.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
The tow truck was headed southbound on Broadway when its driver ran a red light and collided with the bus, witnesses told officers.
“It appears based on witness testimony and video footage the tow truck driver was at fault,” LAPD’s Rudy Lopez said.
The bus was in the intersection when it was hit and knocked down a fire hydrant, sending water high up into the air. The tow truck plowed into a nearby 7-Eleven store.
“A citizen estimated the tow truck was driving about 60 miles an hour,” LAPD Sgt. Steve Dailey said. “The speed limit for here is about 30 miles an hour.”
Olivia Gamboa, the 47-year-old bus driver, was ejected from the vehicle and was found face-down in the water. She was transported to Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, where she later died. There were no passengers on the bus at the time of the accident, according to police.
“Metro is saddened to learn of the passing of one of our family members this morning as a result of a horrific accident in downtown Los Angeles. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bus operator’s family and friends during this difficult time,” Metro’s Senior Media Relations Officer Paul Gonzales said in a statement.
Gamboa, of Montebello, was a bus driver for 13 years, according to Metro. Gamboa’s husband and daughter are also bus drivers.
Co-workers told Metro.net’s “The Source” that Gamboa was quiet, family-oriented and very well liked by colleagues and passengers.
The 30-year-old male tow truck driver was trapped and had to be rescued by paramedics. He was also transported to County/USC in serious condition.
A 7-Eleven employee who suffered minor injuries was treated at the scene and released. A building inspector was also called to the scene to determine the building’s structural integrity.
“We were all trying to see if we could help, but the wreckage was too bad so we couldn’t help,” witness Henry Zamora said.
5th Street was closed between Spring and Hill streets and Broadway was shut down between 4th and 6th streets.