A Whatcom Transportation Authority bus jumped a curb Wednesday morning at Cordata Station, causing several minor injuries, destroying a passenger enclosure and damaging part of the station, officials said.
WTA spokeswoman Maureen McCarthy said officials are still investigating what happened and why. Photos from a witness, Richard Jongema, show that the bus apparently drove onto the sidewalk, slammed into an overhang and crashed through a glass and metal enclosure for waiting passengers.
Three people went to the hospital with minor injuries – two in an ambulance and one with WTA staff in a WTA vehicle, officials said. The bus was labeled Route 331 headed downtown from the Cordata Station near Whatcom Community College.
Jongema of Hinotes Corner said he was on Route 232 waiting to head downtown at 9:45 a.m. when he heard the crash.
“I kind of heard this crash-bang so I got off the bus,” Jongema said, adding he saw one person with a cut on his arm and another who appeared “dazed” sitting on the ground.
Assistant Chief Bill Hewett of the Bellingham Fire Department said firefighters evaluated two passengers and two bystanders and took two people to St. Joseph hospital. He said other firefighters shut off the electricity and natural gas lines that supply the structure.
“The collision ended up causing some damage to the natural gas heaters on the concourse,” Hewett said.
McCarthy said a damage estimate wasn’t immediately available, pending an insurance company report.
“There was fairly significant damage to the bus and to the shelters on the concourse,” she said.
The bus was one of the WTA’s newer “near-zero emission” models.
It was towed from the scene.
“Department of Transportation requirements, and WTA standard protocol, require an automatic drug and alcohol test after any event of this nature. In keeping with that requirement and protocol, we had the driver of the bus tested shortly after the accident,” McCarthy said.
Hewett said the bus itself was stable and not leaking fluids.
Bellingham Police didn’t say if any citations were issued.