New Haven police said 24 people, including a police officer, were brought to local hospitals after a serious crash between a police cruiser and CT Transit bus on Monday morning.
Two police cars were responding to an assistance call by an officer at Union Station and were both traveling on Elm Street when it approached the intersection of Temple Street.
With lights and sirens on, police said the first cruiser made it through the intersection successfully, but the second police car, which was being driven by Officer Victor Herrera, a 19-year veteran of the police force, slammed into the CT Transit bus that was in the intersection.
"I felt the crash. I didn't see them coming. But apparently the cop had his lights on," said bus passenger Christopher Krantz. "The next thing I knew we felt the impact."
The impact was so great that the cruiser's air bags deployed as the vehicle was launched into a concrete pillar in front of the United Church. The bus continued traveling, jumped a curb onto the New Haven Green, hit a lamppost and stopped.
"You're flying through the air, flying through the air. I hit the floor and that was all she wrote," said passenger Greg Andrews.
No pedestrians were injured.
After Herrera had to be pryed free from the cruiser, he was brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. He was released from the hospital on late Monday afternoon.
New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman called Herrera a "veteran officer, well respected officer."
"(I) just want him to get better quickly," Esserman said.
Police said 23 people on the bus, including the driver, were all brought to local hospitals. Officials said that preliminary information from officials at the scene said most, if not all of the people helped at the scene were brought to hospitals for non-evident injuries.
The crash remains under investigation, and officials said the investigation could take weeks. Police want to talk to everyone on the bus and the officer and continue to analyze what they collected at the scene.
The city bus ride was coming from Waterbury to New Haven and crashed about a half a block from its final stop.
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