The driver of a Dodge Caravan and a few handyDART passengers were taken to Royal Inland Hospital Thursday morning after the two vehicles collided at Fourth Avenue and St. Paul Street.
The impact sent the van onto the sidewalk beside the Kamloops United Church, while the bus veered into the side of a nearby building.
Firefighters used the jaws of life to pry off the driver’s side van door and carefully removed the elderly man who was wedged behind the steering wheel. He had some cuts to his face.
A nurse who happened to be passing by stopped to take care of him. A girl, about eight or nine years old, was also in the van. She appeared to be OK, said the nurse, who didn’t give her name.
Three passengers and the driver of the handyDART were put into cervical collars and some were to be taken to hospital to be checked over. The bus’s front end was up against the building.
Retired dentist Bill McNiece was headed to the office at the Kamloops United Church, which is under construction, when he heard a huge bang about nine metres behind him.
“I heard a slam. I didn’t hear brakes at all. There were definitely no brakes,” he said.
“By the time I turned around and went back, the construction guys were doing the right thing. The van driver was semi conscious, the construction guy was getting him to sit up,” he continued.
“The construction workers got sprayed with debris from the van. They were saying the handyDART spun 360.”
The girl was in a booster seat in the front, and McNiece focused his attention on her. She had a nosebleed and a little swelling on one side of her face, but otherwise seemed all right, he said.
He heard the driver tell the people tending him that he was 60 years old.
Heidi Ferber’s father owns the building hit by the bus. Some stucco and a small low window appeared to be broken.
She said her parents are travelling right now, so they are unaware of what occurred.
B.C. Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton said there were three passengers on board the bus along with a driver. Witnesses have said the van went through a stop sign on St. Paul Street at a high rate of speed and struck the driver’s side of the bus, which was on Fourth Avenue.
Two passengers and the driver were taken to hospital with possible impact-related injuries, while the third passenger was examined at the scene and was unhurt. handyDart passengers are obligated to wear seat belts provided on the buses.
The driver had minor injuries and was ordered by her doctor to take a week off. The bus itself was a write off due to the cab buckling and the sub-frame damaged beyond repair, she said.
Police still investigating but witnesses say B.C. Transit is not at fault, Burton said.
“The van had to be moving a pretty fast rate of speed to spin the bus like that.”