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1 dead, 19 hurt as car strikes a pedestrian, then slams into LA school bus

Associated Press / October 26, 2010

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LOS ANGELES — Three youths in a black BMW yesterday ran a red light, hit and killed a pedestrian, and broadsided a school bus that flipped on its side, leaving the bus driver and 18 high school students injured, authorities said.

The three boys, who also were injured, fled on foot from the busy intersection in Boyle Heights, east of downtown Los Angeles, according to the California Highway Patrol. A construction worker corraled and held them until police arrived, Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.

The bus driver was taken to a hospital in critical condition but later was upgraded to serious condition, authorities said. Eighteen high school students on the bus also were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Twenty-five other students on the bus were not hurt.

Fire officials said the pedestrian who was killed was an adult who had not been identified.

The bus flipped at about 3:20 p.m. as the Roosevelt High School students were heading back to school from the East Los Angeles Skills Center, where they attend classes because of overcrowding.

Students began helping each other out of the bus through windows and emergency exits. The crash site was just a few blocks from a police and a fire station, and dozens of officers and firefighters were at the scene within minutes.

Highway Patrol spokesman Miguel Luevano said the three youths in the car were hospitalized after they were detained. Investigators were trying to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Susana Romero, an 11th-grader at Roosevelt, was on the bus when the crash occurred. She said she had no warning before hearing a loud crash and feeling the bus tip over.

“We were in the air,’’ said Romero, 16, wearing a white hooded sweat shirt and holding a Hello Kitty book bag. “We actually flew.’’

Romero, who was not seriously hurt, said she heard more sobs than screams from students.

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