RIPTA crash sends driver, passengers to hospital

WPRI/Kim Kalunian

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Emergency crews have cleared the scene of a RIPTA bus crash in downtown Providence. Now, the investigation is underway.

The Route 57 (Chalkstone Ave) bus was traveling north on Francis Street when it struck a light pole near the Amtrak station at about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday.

According to RIPTA spokeswoman Barbara Polichetti, four passengers and the driver were taken to the hospital following the crash. She said the injuries did not appear to be serious.

Steven Tirrell had just gotten on the bus moments before the crash.

“Shortly after getting on, it veered off to the right,” he recalled. “It took out one of the lights. The momentum then caused it to kick over to the left. Just a really sudden, quick jolt.”

“I just hope everyone is OK tonight,” Tirrell added.

One side of the road was briefly closed while crews towed away the bus, which had a gaping hole near the front door and a shattered windshield.

RIPTA said it will have supervisors on scene and they will be reviewing the police report to determine exactly what happened though Polichetti said it does not appear speed played a role in the crash. She said the driver has been a RIPTA employee for more than 11 years and has a good safety record with the agency.

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