SEATTLE—One person died and a dozen others were injured when a King County Metro bus crashed into a building at Fifth Avenue and Battery Street in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood Saturday afternoon.
A vehicle collided with the bus and the bus then struck a woman who was standing outside the building, according to the Seattle Police Department.
The Seattle Fire Department said the woman died and the driver of the car was critically injured. Eleven bus passengers had minor injuries.
Witnesses said the driver of a Saturn was going south on Fifth Avenue and the Metro bus was heading east on Battery Street around 3:30 p.m. when the two collided, according to a Seattle Police Department news release.
The driver of the car, a 31-year-old man, was critically injured and had to be extricated from the Saturn, which was heavily damaged in the crash.
Eight bus passengers were taken to Harborview Medical Center, Seattle fire spokesperson David Cuerpo said.
The crash occurred next to a red bus lane, a low speed area used primarily by the RapidRide E Line while traveling between the Aurora Avenue corridor and Third Avenue.
There was no significant structural damage to the building and the portion the bus hit was vacant, the Fire Department said.
Residents and others in Belltown were asked to avoid the area and expect traffic delays, the Seattle Police Department said.
Kemley Nieva was lying on the couch in her condominium in Insignia Condos when she felt what she thought was an earthquake as the building moved below her, and as a loud screeching sound erupted. She and her partner, Anthony Rich, ran out onto their balcony and called 911.
They joined their neighbors on the street, where they watched firefighters use a rescue tool called the jaws of life to cut the top of the Saturn and get the driver out of the car.
“I go on walks daily where I pass by that intersection,” Rich said. “It makes me count my blessings.”
All of the neighbors were shaken, Nieva said.
“It is usually very calm. Everyone walks their dogs, walks around,” Nieva added. She and Rich have lived in the building for two years.
“I was about to park there,” Rich said, pointing just feet away from where the bus slammed into the building. “But instead I parked on Sixth Avenue, which is unusual. I got really lucky not parking there.”
Saturday evening, people walking by the scene of the crash stopped to take photos of the bus and ask about what happened.
Sunny Lee, who works at Cornerstone Cafe and Deli on the corner of Battery Street and Sixth, was on the receiving end of many of those questions, though she didn’t see what happened.
“It could’ve happened at this corner,” said Lee, who has worked at the deli for about four years. “My heart is racing just talking about it.”
One of the deadliest public transit bus crashes in King County in recent memory happened in May 2013, when a Sound Transit bus rolled through a red light in Kirkland and smashed the side of a crossing SUV, killing two people inside and injuring another.
Five international students at North Seattle College riding in a private bus died in 2015, and more than 60 people were injured, when a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle careened across the center line of the Aurora Bridge and hit the bus, a crash federal investigators blamed on equipment failure.