Newton Corner crash leaves MBTA bus hanging over turnpike, sends eight to the hospital

Bus crash in Newton Corner

State Police report the bus crashed through a guardrail and fencing over the westbound turnpike on Washington Street this morning.

There is NO threat of bus falling down onto the Mass Pike as it has been secured by Newton Fire Department.

The westbound onramp to the turnpike is shut as well as the turnpike's right lane due to debris - and the chance more might fall as the bus is removed.

Transit Police have this to say about the 7:35 a.m. incident:

A Route 57 MBTA bus with approximately 10 passengers on board was traveling on the overpass in Newton Corner (Gateway Center) when the bus veered to the left colliding with the guardrail. 7 passengers and the bus operator have been transported to local area hospitals with NON life threatening injuries. Transit Police detectives are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

Photo. Another photo.

Photo by Newton FD:

Bus over the turnpike

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Comments

Crikey!

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So much for a quiet Sunday morning. I hope that the investigation is quick. I believe that there are several cameras around there - owned by DOT and/or the Crowne Plaza.

It will be interesting to see whether this was caused in part by a vehicle headed east on Washington St. taking a fast merge to the left after entering the "rotary" (which could have caused the driver of the bus to swerve left to avoid contact). Merges like this are common there as people headed east on Washington St. are trying to avoid the upcoming merge at their right with cars exiting from the Turnpike eastbound (many of whom simply ignore the stop sign at the top of the ramp, exacerbating an already bad situation). In general,that whole area is really just a cluster that was designed for much lower traffic volumes than what it sees today.

Alternatively, I wonder if the driver had a medical issue.

Lastly, while I wouldn't expect the guardrail to hold against a head-on collision, I would have hoped that it would have performed a bit differently than this (i.e., deforming, but deflecting the bus back onto the roadway and not becoming completely dislodged from the overpass for such a great length) given that this appears to be a sideswipe-type hit. I am sure one of our engineering-types can set me straight on this part though.

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steering problems

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Speed probably wasn't a problem here. The bus crashed in the inside part (the slowest) of the turn. If the driver was speeding I would have expected the bus to understeer and drive off the other side of the overpass. Maybe a part of the suspension broke causing the bus to keep turning towards the inside corner.

If there was a car merging from the Newton side maybe the bus driver swerved to the inside, jumped the curb, broke something in the suspension/steering, and lost control?

I hope this bus has onboard video.

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Two days in a row

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Yesterday, I was stuck in traffic in the same place because it appeared someone decided to have a car fight with a garbage truck or something of the same size. Fortunately, the accident was on the straight stretch between the eastbound off ramp and Washington Street, so nothing ended up hanging over the Pike as a result, but multiple lanes were closed and everything was backed up fully around the circle for the most part.

That entire area is dangerous. Traffic coming from Washington/Tremont want to get on the Pike, traffic coming from the eastbound Pike and Newton want to go to Watertown, people coming from Watertown get confused as to what lane to be in, and when it gets busy people form multiple extra "lanes" everywhere that don't exist...

It's a giant disaster no matter what time of day.

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Don't forget the whole mess

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Don't forget the whole mess destroyed a vibrant town center and closed a commuter rail stop as part of its construction. Whoever designated and designed that area as an on/off ramp for the Pike should have been laughed out of the engineering business.

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The I-Team investigates

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Channel 4 is doing a story on how the Transit Police investigate bus accidents tomorrow night and the promos don't paint them in a positive light as they show some poor girl who was involved in an accident claiming she was struck by a bus and the cops gave her a ticket

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16

Ehhh

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I had a pedestrian run-in with a car once, and the officer who took my report said that under MA law, the cars have the right of way unless the pedestrian is in a painted crosswalk. If the painted crosswalk has traffic signals, the cars have the right of way unless the WALK sign is on.

So if you're crossing a quiet sidestreet- one without a crosswalk or signals- and a car hits you, it's presumed to be your fault because the car had the right of way. It's quite possible for a pedestrian to be involved in an accident and be issued a citation for breaking the law.

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It's cute when police make up the law

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Oh, no, wait, what's the word I'm looking for? Nauseating? Yeah, that one.

From 720CMR9 definitions:

Crosswalk. That portion of a roadway ordinarily included within the extensions of the sidewalk lines, or, if none then the footpath lines, and, at any place in a highway, clearly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or markers upon the roadway surface

The bit about "footpath lines" means that anywhere a footpath intersects with a roadway is as much a legal crosswalk as one with painted lines. This is often called an "unmarked crosswalk" (info here and here. Oh and here. Law here.)

From 720CMR 9.09(1)

Pedestrians shall obey the directions of police officers directing traffic and whenever there is an officer directing traffic, a traffic control signal or a marked crosswalk within 300 feet of a pedestrian, no such pedestrian shall cross a way or roadway except within the limits of a marked crosswalk and as hereinafter provided in 720 CMR 9.00.

If you're more than 300 feet from a crosswalk, you can cross legally.

It's not particularly clear what happens when you come to a green light with a red walk signal in the parallel crosswalk. According to one piece of the law, you can't cross unless there is a white man signal. But another piece says that turning traffic will yield to pedestrians crossing with a green signal and makes no mention of whether the walk signal is illuminated.

Penalty for jaywalking? $1 for the first three offenses in a calendar year. $2 for the fourth and subsequent offenses.

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