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NFTA bus makes unexpected stop - into a house

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

An NFTA Metro Bus driver attempting to avoid a car ended up putting his vehicle into the front porch of a house late Friday morning on Buffalo's East Side.

The incident happened at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Bailey Avenue just south of the intersection with Walden Avenue. The bus, according to NFTA Police Chief George W. Gast, was traveling southbound when an SUV moving in the opposite lane crossed the double-yellow lines, forcing the driver to take evasive action. He swerved in an attempt to prevent a crash but was unable to avoid a collision.

"Contact was made between the SUV and the bus," Gast said. "As a result of the swerving and that contact, the NFTA bus struck a house on Bailey Avenue."

1798 Bailey Avenue, to be exact. Diamond Green, who lives there, recalled the moment she heard the impact.

"I was in the house, laying down, when I heard a big boom. I looked down and was like 'was that the door?' But it wasn't the door," she said. "Then another boom came, so I ran downstairs and the bus was literally on our porch."

Green and her roommate were unhurt. More than a dozen other people were checked out for injuries but some refused treatment. Some were taken to the hospital.

"We have eight people transported to the hospital, seven reported injuries. One was an infant," said Gast. "The infant's mother was also transported but had signed off, saying she was not injured. The bus driver was also transported."

Gast added that none of those sent to the hospital, including the child, faced life-threatening injuries.

Police charged 30-year-old Oscar Baez, the alleged SUV operator, with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Autumn Dolyk was one of the passengers aboard the bus, riding to eventually meet her son and his father at the child's pediatric appointment. She had boarded the bus just moments before and was unhurt by the crash but stunned. She had witnessed another passenger, whom she descibed as an older male, being tossed from one seat to another upon impact.

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
A vehicle involved in a collision with a NFTA Metro Bus is loaded aboard a flatbed truck. Investigators say the vehicle crossed the center line on Bailey Avenue near Walden, leading the bus driver to swerve to avoid contact. The vehicles still struck each other and the bus then smashed into a house.

Her first thought, she said, was trying to figure out what to do next after the crash.

"There was dust and stuff filling up the bus. We tried to get out the back door," she said. "Me and another girl on the bus tried to kick the back door out but we couldn't do it. Somebody opened up the emergency latch on the door and we got the baby out first, the mom next. Then all the rest of the passengers came out."

Green and her roommate, meanwhile, were temporarily displaced as city engineers worked to secure the severely damaged porch to prevent further collapse.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.