Four days after a city bus crashed into a three-story brownstone in Brooklyn, injuring more than a dozen people, crews from the MTA finally removed the vehicle that has become somewhat of an attraction in the neighborhood.
Residents in the area have been stopping by to get a look at the bus because they say it looks like a scene out of a Hollywood film.
The bus removal was made possible by Friday morning after workers installed shoring to prevent the building on Lincoln Road from completely collapsing, according to the Department of Building. Despite the shoring, engineers were concerned removing the bus could still cause other parts of the brownstone to fall.
The crash happened Monday afternoon after the operator lost control of the vehicle as it traveled southbound on Bedford Avenue, officials said. The impact left 16 passengers injured and all the residents in the building were evacuated over concerns that the structure was compromised.
News 4 on Wednesday obtained shocking surveillance video of the incident that the MTA describes as "disturbing on many levels."
The video from a camera inside the bus showed the driver remove one bag from the floor of his seat, then get up and get back into the seat. He can be seen releasing what appears to be some sort of emergency brake, and the bus immediately lurches forwards, hitting the vehicle in front.
Instead of stopping, the bus hits the vehicle again, then seems to accelerate as the driver furiously steers the bus into the other lane. The driver crashes into a black pick-up truck before hitting the building.
The MTA also said in its response to the footage Wednesday that it raised "questions about whether basic safety rules were followed. The incident remains under investigation and we will have more to say when that is complete."
MTA union leaders asked the public not to rush to judgment of the driver, with TWU local vice president JP Patafio calling him a "veteran operator with an exemplary record. He's driven hundreds of thousands of miles without having an accident." Patafio said the driver is recovering and traumatized, and said there were no serious injuries or worse because the driver "steered clear" of other things.
An initial investigation of the crash does not indicate the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed and there is no evidence of a mechanical issue, MTA Bus Company President Craig Cipriano said.
The bus driver, 55, hasn't had many collisions in his 13 years on the job, Cipriano added. There has been no update on his condition or his employment status.
On Friday, one of the bags the driver was seen adjusting seconds before slamming into the building could be seen inside the bus after it was removed. Inside the bag was just two cartons of fruit juice.
A tenant of the building says the top floor is a residential unit while the lower levels are used as a doctor's office. Elena was inside the third-floor unit with one of their roommates and felt the impact when the bus hit.
"I just heard screeching sounds and then I heard a really really loud crunching sound, like metal into stone and bricks," they said several hours after the impact, still waiting to hear when they could get back inside. "It's a little crazy, but it's not the craziest thing. I'm grateful to be alive."