Stuck on tracks, driver gets passengers off bus before train hits

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Rapid bus driver was able to safely evacuate all of his passengers before the bus was hit by a freight train Monday, Grand Rapids police say.

“We were able to prevent anything terrible from happening,” Gill Kirk, business affairs specialist at The Rapid, told News 8 at the scene. “The operator followed everything to a T.”

It happened around 12:15 p.m. at the train tracks on Kalamazoo Avenue SE north of Alger Street in Grand Rapids’ Alger Heights neighborhood.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says the bus stopped at the tracks and ice over the road kept it from getting moving again.

The crossing gate started coming down and the driver saw a CSX train coming, so he got his four passengers off the bus and away.

“We’re very proud of him, happy that he’s OK and happy that he’s doing alright,” Kirk said.

Authorities said the Rapid driver then tried to flag down the train engineer to stop. The engineer was able to slow but the train still hit the bus at about 4 mph.

A spokesperson for CSX told News 8 in a statement that no one on the train was hurt.

“The train consisted of one locomotive and 15 rail cars. There were no reported injuries to the train crew. This incident is an important reminder to the motoring public that trains cannot stop quickly. If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, get everyone out immediately and move as far away from the tracks as possible. Once at a safe distance, call 911. CSX is cooperating with the Grand Rapids Police Department, who is investigating the incident.”

CSX

“(The CSX) conductor did a great job to take in some safety measures to minimize how bad this situation could’ve been,” Kirk said.

Kalamazoo Avenue was shut down while crews worked to get the bus off the tracks.

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