COLUMBUS (WCMH) — You wouldn’t know it the damage left on an Ohio State University bus involved in an accident on campus, but those on board at impact say the Campus Area Bus Service vehicle was hit so hard it nearly flipped onto its side.
An OSU Wexner Medical Center nurse who was on the bus, spoke to NBC4 on the condition of anonymity.
“I saw the lights coming to the window, but by then we were already on two wheels,” she said.
Most of those aboard were OSU medical staff.
The accident report indicates the tow truck driver was at fault, and that 17 people who were on board the OSU CABS transit bus at the time were injured.
First Vice President of the Ohio State University Nurses Organization and R.N. Rick Lucas says overcrowding on that CABS bus that day led to more people being injured.
“The buses are almost always overcrowded every day,” said Lucas.
Lucas blames the loss of hundreds of parking spots when construction closed a lot many staff members used that was a quick walk across the street to the hospital.
“There were 2,500 spots that closed in the Polo lot so they have to shuttle all of those people twice a day,” he said.
NBC4 asked Lucas if he felt the buses were safe.
“Not with the overcrowding; they’re not safe,” he said.
Lucas says since the university hasn’t added or requested additional buses, riders often hop on after waiting awhile so they’re not late to work.
“Under threat of discipline, the nurses and other staff pile on the bus and it’s unsafe,” he said.
The woman we spoke with says she might not have even been on the bus involved in the accident if there was an extra bus or two making the multiple round trips between campus buildings and west campus parking lots.
“The first bus that picked us up was too crowded for any passengers to join so I waited for the second bus,” she said.
Lucas agrees saying if the university added just one or two buses it would make a big difference.
He worries the overcrowding affects the safety of OSU staff, students and patients.
“Two buses during peak times would make a huge difference and avoid people standing in the overcrowding,” he said.
Nobody from OSU would speak about the concerns on camera.
A spokesperson referred to this email sent to staff from Ohio State Health System CEO David McQuaid:
The safety and well-being of our staff and faculty are of utmost importance. We are saddened to share that earlier today a tow truck ran a red light and struck the side of a University bus that was transporting Medical Center staff members from the Carmack Road parking area to the Medical Center for their shifts. Approximately 20 of our colleagues on the bus were injured and taken to our Emergency Department. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening. A few of our staff members were more seriously injured and continue to be monitored. They remain in our thoughts during this difficult time.
During this holiday of giving thanks, we are extremely grateful that this accident was not even more serious and for the quick thinking and skills of the bus driver. Our staff members who are working over this holiday weekend are sacrificing time with their own friends and families to care for the critically ill in our hospitals, and we are sorry for this very upsetting situation and especially for those who were injured. Please know that we will do everything we can to make sure they receive the very best care and treatment and know that they are valued members of our team.
Currently, the Columbus Police Department (CPD) is investigating the accident. As soon as their investigation is complete, we will share an update. I would like to personally thank Dr. Andy Thomas, Mark Conselyea, Jackie Buck and the many other team members who were on the scene and at the hospital helping since this accident occurred.”