May 27, 2005 in City

Car driver dies from injuries after collision with bus

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson/ photo

A bus rests on the hillside at 11th and Thor after a collision with the car in the foreground Thursday afternoon.
(Full-size photo)

A man died Thursday after his car collided with a school bus in south Spokane.

The bus was southbound on Ray Place when it struck a Chevrolet Corsica at 11th Avenue about 3:25 p.m., said Spokane Police Sgt. Joe Walker.

Witnesses said the school bus went airborne, then landed precariously on a slope next to the road. It later was hooked to a tow truck to prevent it from tipping while officers investigated.

“It was really loud, and glass flew everywhere,” said Kelsey Smith, a sixth-grader who witnessed the collision while walking home from Franklin Elementary School.

The Corsica’s driver, who was in his 50s, was unconscious at the scene, Walker said. He was taken to Deaconess Medical Center where he died from head injuries about 8:30 p.m., said police spokesman Dick Cottam.

A passenger in the car, the man’s 18-year-old daughter, was trapped until firefighters extracted her with the Jaws of Life. She was taken to Deaconess and treated and released.

The bus driver was not injured, Walker said.

Names of those involved in the collision were not released Thursday.

A group meeting at nearby Bethel Church of the Nazarene heard the slam and rushed to join a few nearby residents and passers-by to aid the motorists and direct traffic until emergency crews arrived. Jim Clifton, Bethel’s pastor, used his shirt to help stop the Corsica driver’s bleeding.

The bus, which was empty except for the driver, was headed to Chase Middle School, said Joe Madsen, Spokane Public Schools director of safety and risk management. Bussing for Spokane Public Schools is provided by Laidlaw.

The Corsica was westbound on 11th Avenue and attempting to turn south on Ray Place when the bus hit the car, Walker said. Citations were not issued Thursday afternoon, but the investigation was ongoing.

Police closed the Ray-Thor arterial between Fifth and 17th avenues for several hours while the accident was investigated. North of 11th, Ray Place turns into Thor Street.

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