6 killed in Baltimore crash involving school bus, commuter bus
BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- Police confirm six have died in a southwest Baltimore crash involving two buses.
Police say the initial collision involved a Ford Mustang and the school bus.
According to Baltimore Police spokesperson T.J. Smith, the yellow school bus was eastbound on Frederick Avenue when it struck the Mustang.
"Once the yellow school bus struck the Mustang it continued eastbound, then struck the pillar at the Loudon Park Cemetery," Smith said in a briefing. "The bus struck that pillar and then continued eastbound where it went into oncoming traffic and struck an MTA bus on its driver's side and basically ripped the entire driver's side off of the vehicle. It literally looks like a bomb exploded in the bus. It's catastrophic damage."
Of the six fatalities, five victims were on the MTA bus, police said. Investigators believe approximately 13 people were on the commuter bus at the time of the crash.
A total of two people were on the school bus, Smith noted, a driver and an aide. Investigators say the aide survived the crash.
The accident happened in the area of Frederick and Monastery Ave around 6:30 a.m.
No children were on the school bus, police confirmed, noting that it was on its way to pick up a student at the time of the crash.
According to school officials, the school bus was a contracted vehicle.
"We can't speculate on the cause of the crash at this point," Smith said. He added, "I understand there were some rumors circulating about this being a crime scene, it is not a crime scene. It's a crash investigation scene. We have our detectives from the homicide unit here because they're used to dealing with death investigations and we have a mass casualty incident involving multiple fatalities, so we asked for additional assistance to come out."
Officials at Shock Trauma confirm five patients were transported from the scene; one is listed in critical condition and four are listed in stable condition.
“We probably had about 100 people standing by if we needed those resources to be deployed,” Shock Trauma Chief of Trauma Dr. Deborah Stein said. “We held our operating rooms for the morning in case we needed those, we had personnel, we had equipment available, so we were ready for whatever was going to be coming to us.”
Of the five patients, three are being treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center and two at Shock Trauma.
No victims have been identified at this time.
"There aren't any skid marks, so something catastrophic took place and it's something we're continuing to investigate," Smith said.
Motorists should expect closures and delays in the area; Frederick Avenue will be closed for "a significant period of time" between S Loudon and S Hilton.
Governor Larry Hogan released a statement, saying he and the First Lady were deeply saddened by the news.
"The First Lady and I are deeply saddened to hear of the horrific crash this morning in Southwest Baltimore involving a school bus and an MTA commuter bus," Hogan said. "Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families in the wake of this tragedy. We will continue to pray for those who were injured, as well as the first responders who worked swiftly and continue to care for the injured. Our administration gives our full support to the Baltimore City Police Department as they investigate, and we are prepared to offer any state assistance necessary."
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a highway team to investigate the crash.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake offered her condolences and thanked the emergency personnel who responded to the scene.
"I offer my sincerest condolences to the victims and families impacted by this morning’s tragic bus crash in Southwest Baltimore," Mayor Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "I am thankful for the expedient response of our emergency staff who are doing all they can to assist those in critical need and render aid where necessary, as well as those who have offered resources and support. Please continue to pray for the many lives impacted by today’s events. As we verify more information, additional details will be released."