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Bus still stuck in Prospect Lefferts Gardens house three days after crash

The crashed B49 now sits behind a sidewalk shed.
Photo by Ben Verde

The B49 bus that crashed into a Prospect Lefferts Gardens rowhouse three days ago is still stuck in place as city officials work to assess the building’s stability and devise a way to pull it out without further damaging the structure.

Department of Buildings officials say the crash on June 7 on Bedford Avenue damaged an internal load-bearing wall, compromising the entire building and complicating the removal process of the bus.

The vehicle now sits covered in scaffolding while a construction crew works to shore up the building on the corner of Lincoln Road. 

One resident of the block who gave his name as Harold H, said neighbors expect the work to go on for months, due to the extensive damage to the historic building. Harold says the crash and its aftermath have been an annoyance, but neighbors are unfazed. 

“It’s an annoyance, the idea that it actually happened,” he said on Thursday. “But that’s just the way it is, you get used to the complexities and the anomalies that happen in the Five Boroughs.”

The bus crashed into the ground level of the townhouse, destroying part of the facade.Photo by Ben Brachfeld 

The Monday afternoon crash sent over a dozen bus passengers to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, including the driver, who told witnesses his foot was stuck between the accelerator and the brake. 

Surveillance footage of the crash leaked Wednesday showed the bus driver raise a series of safety red flags. The driver appeared to remove full shopping bags from his feet, leave the driver’s seat, then sit back down without fastening his seat belt. He then appears to lose control of the vehicle after accelerating, hitting the flatbed truck in front of him then swerving past the truck and into the building. 

An MTA spokesperson called the video “disturbing.” 

“The video is disturbing on many levels, raising questions about whether basic safety rules were followed,” Tim Minton said in a statement. “The incident remains under investigation and we will have more to say when it is complete.” 

Leaders of the Transport Workers Union blasted MTA officials for attempting to pin the blame on the bus operator, pointing out the driver’s spotless record prior to Monday.

“This is a veteran operator with an exemplary record, that video should not have been released,” said TWU Local 100 Vice President JP Patafio during a press conference at the scene of the crash. “We have to look into what caused this bus to accelerate.” 

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