LAKEWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Authorities said six people were injured — four of them seriously — in a crash in Lakewood between a Long Beach Transit bus and a pickup truck.
The accident was reported just before 6 p.m., according to LA County Fire Dept.
Officials said the bus collided with the truck and then slammed into a light pole at Woodruff Avenue and Centralia Street.
Firefighters were still trying to free the driver from the crash after more than 40 minutes, said Stu Mundel reporting in Sky 9.
The driver was freed just before 8 p.m.
KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin reported from the scene.
Five of the injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
Witnesses told her the crash shook the entire neighborhood.
Dozens of spectators applauded when the driver was eventually freed after nearly two hours.
“It shook my house,” said resident Rob Allen, “I was in my house and I could feel the floor shaking. You heard the boom, and then the floor shaking. It was one of the gnarliest ones I’ve seen.”
Allen ran to help the victims as best he could.
“I just wanted to help the people,” he said, “they were all laid out and bloodied. I just wanted to get them off the bus, but you can’t touch them, either.”
The bus driver told Allen he wasn’t able to feel his legs.
The driver also told Allen the motorist in the white pickup truck turned in front of him. He said he tried to avoid the truck but him and then hit the pole.”
Inspector Randall Wright with the LA County Fire Department explained why the freeing of the bus driver took as long as it did.
After the most seriously injured people were tended to, he said a specialized team had to pry away the metal surrounding the bus driver from the waist down.
“There is metal in the front of a bus,” said Wright, “it’s not like a normal car where you have that hood and that space with normal crumple zones. In a bus like this you’re sitting very close to the front, we have steering wheels, metal frames that get wrapped around the patient.”
A spokesperson for Long Beach Transit said the driver was conscious and okay.