UPDATE Jan. 26, 4 p.m.: Warwick Police have ruled out speed and alcohol as factors in the RIPTA bus crash last night, and report the driver and one passenger are in critical condition at RI Hospital.
Police have also identified the passengers on the bus as Kyle Adams, 21, of Providence, who suffered serious injuries and was listed in critical condition at RI Hospital. A second passenger, Paulino Cortez, 39, of Providence, was treated for minor injuries at RI Hospital and released.
A third passenger,Nabil Boudib, 32, of Providence, who left the scene prior to the arrival of police and fire, was not injured as a result of the crash.
According to police, Adams attempted to aid to the driver, Richard Avedisian, 51, (no relation to Mayor Scott Avedisian) after the bus struck a pole, as it appeared to him that he was suffering some type of medical episode.
Police have ask anyone with information related to the collision or who may have witnessed the crash to contact the Lead Investigator, Officer Robert Hart, at 401-468-4345.
UPDATE Jan. 26, 12 a.m.: Warwick Police report the driver of the RIPTA bus that crashed into 1209 Post Road is Richard Avedisian, 51, of North Kingstown.
The Department’s Traffic Division Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the crash.
One passenger left the scene before police and fire personnel arrived. Investigators later identified and are interviewing him, as well as several witnesses to the collision.
Neither speed nor alcohol appears to have been a factor in the collision. Investigators believe the operator of the bus may have suffered a medical incident that caused the crash.
Warwick building officials determined the building was not inhabitable, ordering it to be secured until further notice.
Warwick Police have asked anyone with information related to the collision who may have witnessed the cras to contact the Lead Investigator, Officer Robert Hart of the Department Traffic Division at 401-468-4345.
UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: WFD Chief James McLaughlin reports the driver of the RIPTA bus that crashed into the building at 1290 Post Road Monday night apparently suffered a medical emergency that caused him to lose control.
The driver suffered the emergency on Post Road near the intersection of Sand Pond Road, after which the bus accelerated toward the building at the corner of Pentacosett Avenue and Post Road, striking it.
McLaughlin said there were three passengers on the bus at the time of the crash, but only the driver and two passengers were taken to the hospital. None of the people’s injuries appeared life-threatening, he said.
The passengers had to stay on the bus while two crews of firefighters worked at the scene; one to shore up the roof of the building and the other to gain access to the bus to get everyone out.
The building collapsed once the bus was removed from it later in the evening.
The chief said Providence and Cranston fire crews responded to aid in the rescue and cleanup. He said the fire departments worked well together, despite the unusual nature of the crash. McLaughlin said it was fortunate, given the busy road, that there were no serious injuries, or more people injured.
“It’s truly a miracle,” he said.
Warwick, RI — A RIPTA driver lost control of his bus Monday night at 7:10 p.m., toppling a telephone pole and going up a snow bank before crashing into Rhode Island Paintball & Airsoft building at 1290 Post Road, injuring the driver and two passengers.
The location was also home to Driver’s Seat Performance Auto Parts, which bore the brunt of the impact.
Melissa Dixon was driving her van south on Post Road when she saw the bus begin to turn toward her as it veered left across four lanes from the north-bound side of the street. Her daughter, Alanna, was in the van with her.
“I thought he was taking a turn, but he just kept going straight into the building,” Alanna said. Melissa pulled over and Alanna called 911 as five employees of the business, who were uninjured, came out and began helping the occupants of the bus, two people that she saw, she said.
“I jumped out,” said Melissa, a nurse at Cherry Hill Manor Nursing Home in Johnston, who is also eight months pregnant. She asked the store’s employees to open the doors of the bus so she could get inside to take the vitals of the driver and passengers.
“The whole front of the bus was concave,” said Alanna, but they could tell the driver was alive and breathing because he was moaning. They couldn’t reach the driver, though, because of debris from the building.
“All on his right side were 2X4s and 4X4s from the building coming down the side, so I couldn’t see if he was hit by them or not, but he was moaning, he was alive,” Melissa said.
A passenger was lying on the floor of the bus on his stomach, with his head turned. “I lifted up his hat, and his face looked OK. I told him not to move,” she said.
Serena Boxwell was driving north on Post Road at about 7:10 p.m. when she saw a car on top of a section of telephone pole. The pole had apparently been knocked down by the bus moments before she drove by.
“There was just a piece of telephone pole under their car,” Boxwell said. As she continued driving north on Post Road, she saw a RIPTA bus had collided with the building at 1290 Post Road.
Cranston and Warwick firefighters and engines responded to the crash, and Mayor Scott Avedisian arrived on the scene at about 7:54 p.m.
Cranston and Warwick Special Hazard trucks were on the scene, as well as four ambulances, two engines, a ladder truck, and a RIPTA truck. Warwick Police blocked off Post Road between Norwood and Pentacosett Avenues as about 30 firefighters worked to secure the scene. Two stretchers bearing unidentified persons were removed from the bus at about 9 p.m. As the second person was taken from the bus on a stretcher, a crowd of about 40 people across the street applauded lightly.
Warwick Post will update this story as more information becomes available.