BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A high-speed police chase ended with a crash involving a school bus with children aboard in Buffalo's Perry Projects on Wednesday.
Kimberly Jarrett said, "She tried to save the lives of the children, and I think she did a good job."
A mass of crushed metal is graphic testimony to the violent collision between a blue Chevy, reported to be running from police, and a Buffalo school bus, ferrying a handful of grade school children home early.
"He hit the bus, the bus driver tried to avoid an accident, but unfortunately she got hit. When she got hit, the car blew up in smoke. The bus blew up in smoke," said Jarrett.
Jarrett is a school bus aide who was in another bus nearby. She and other witnesses said the school bus driver took evasive action as the Chevy, traveling at a high rate of speed, approached the intersection with Lackawanna Police close behind.
Christopher Cook said, "And I was just like, I hope wasn't no kids on that bus that got injured. I was thinking, whatever he did, it could not have been that serious for him to be running that fast. He had to be running 100 miles-an-hour. It was that fast. I could not believe it!"
Buffalo school officials said there were eight children on the bus from School 97. While some students were removed from the bus using back boards, and neck collars, that was out of an abundance of caution. Only one of the students was taken to Women and Children's Hospital, and the injuries were not serious.
"Soon as he hit the bus, the Lackawanna Police car pulled up right behind him, and closed him in. I don't know what happened to him. He did not die, thank God he didn't die, but I knew he was injured pretty bad," said Cook.
Witnesses praised the bus driver for her quick reflexes. The bus came to a rest in the grass within a couple of feet of a light pole on one side and a tree on the other.
Jarrett said, "But the bus driver, she saved lives today. It could have been a lot worse, and it's not her fault."
"That bus was struck, and did not hit that light pole or the tree. That was a good driver," said Cook.
The driver of the blue Chevy was removed from the car, and taken to ECMC.
Lackawanna Police are not releasing any of the names, including that of the driver, why he was being pursued, or if any charges are pending against him.