Police investigate Ride On bus that struck a house in Silver Spring -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 5:18 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2012.

A Ride On bus crashed into a house Monday morning in Silver Spring, injuring several passengers and launching an investigation into the circumstances of the crash, police said.

The bus was driving near Avenel Road at the intersection of St. Camillus Drive just before 11 a.m. when it left the roadway and struck a parked car and a home, said Officer Rebecca Innocenti, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.

“It was traveling east [on St. Camillus Drive] attempting to make a right hand turn onto southbound Avenel Road when, for reasons still under investigation, the Ride On bus left the roadway and traveled onto the yard of 9407 Avenel Road,” she said. “It then continued into the adjacent yard, which is 9405 Avenel Road.”

After striking an unoccupied taxi in the driveway of 9405 Avenel Road, the bus drove into the front porch area, Innocenti said.

“No one in the home was injured, although it was occupied,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a county police spokesman. “There were 10 to 15 people on the bus; some of those people have been injured — all with apparently minor injuries.”

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel responded to the scene to evaluate the injuries, Starks said.

Beth Anne Nesselt, spokeswoman for the Fire and Rescue Service, said personnel evaluated nine patients on the scene and transported the bus driver and five passengers to area hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Esther Bowring, a spokeswoman for the county, said she did not know whether the bus driver had been released from the hospital yet, citing privacy laws.

A building inspector and engineer inspected the house, Nesselt said, and determined that it was structurally unstable. The house has been condemned until it can be repaired to meet safety standards.

County police were on the scene shortly after the crash to begin investigating what may have caused the bus to leave the roadway, Starks said.

“We’ll be looking to determine if it was a mechanical failure, or, if it wasn’t, why did it occur,” he said.

Bowring said the standard procedure after bus accidents like this is to put the driver on administrative leave and give him alcohol and blood tests.

“The accident will be thoroughly investigated, and the driver will have an opportunity to explain what happened,” she said. An independent party will also assess the bus for mechanical failures.

The bus was a 2011 model that had been in for routine maintenance July 31, Bowring said, but it’s still too soon to say what caused the crash.

jarias@gazette.net

Staff writer Elizabeth Waibel contributed to this report.