Bus loses brakes, crashes into Boise building

Jan 6, 2014, 8:45 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A public transit bus crashed into a downtown Boise office building on Monday, leaving the front of the vehicle dangling over an underground parking garage.

About 12 people were on the ValleyRide bus and police said most were uninjured. One woman, who had a pre-existing injury, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

ValleyRide spokesman Mark Carnopis said the crash was under investigation after the driver reported the brakes weren’t working when he approached an intersection near the nine-story Idaho Power building,

The driver had to take quick evasive action to avoid hitting cars stopped ahead of the bus, Carnopis said.

The bus careened over a curb and into a parking lot, running over street signs and small trees before crossing a street and crashing into the office building.

Initial estimates suggest the bus was traveling about 20 mph, Carnopis said.

“It was a helluva ride,” 47-year-old Joseph Pacheco said.

Pacheco was sitting toward the front of the bus and said he thought the driver did the best he could in the situation.

“I mean, that could have been so much worse than it was,” he said.

Carnopis said the driver is on paid administrative leave while the accident is investigated.

The 2001 bus was considered at the end of its useful life, generally around 12 or 13 years, Carnopis said.

“We can keep buses past the useful life period but we have to be a little more frequent with the maintenance,” he said.

Carnopis said the maintenance records of the bus weren’t immediately available.

Lynette Berriochoa, a spokeswoman for Idaho Power, said engineers determined a concrete-and-steel column hit by the bus was decorative, not weight-bearing.

As a precaution, the people who work in the library and conference room space above the crash site have been relocated, she said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Bus loses brakes, crashes into Boise building