Ten people injured after van turns in front of CATS bus on Central Avenue

Medic says one of the patients was seriously injured, and taken to Carolinas Medical Center.
Medic says one of the patients was seriously injured, and taken to Carolinas Medical Center. John Spark | WBTV

Ten people were injured Sunday afternoon when a van trying to turn onto Briar Creek Road from Central Avenue collided with a Charlotte Area Transit Service bus with seven passengers on board.

CATS spokeswoman Hillary Ryan said bus 1030, driving outbound on Central, had a green light when the van, traveling inbound on Central, tried turning left onto Briar Creek Road – but hit the bus.

“We’ve watched the film, and our bus clearly had the green light,” Ryan said. “The van turned in front of the bus.”

Medic’s Twitter account reported that 10 people were injured in the collision, one with potentially life-threatening injuries. That person was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, with seven others with minor injuries. Two were taken to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

Ryan said none of the seven passengers on the CATS bus sustained serious injuries. She said the bus driver didn’t require treatment.

She said the bus was damaged enough for it to be towed to the CATS maintenance facility. She said the van was towed, too.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police captain said Sunday he didn’t think any charges would be filed.

Sunday’s crash follows two collisions involving CATS buses last month.

The first killed 74-year-old Charles Adkins after his bicycle was struck by a CATS bus on Statesville Road. Investigators said Adkins turned into the path of the bus. The bus driver unsuccessfully tried to swerve in an attempt to avoid Adkins.

A week later, preschool teacher Melanie Myers was killed when she couldn’t stop the pickup truck she was driving and collided with a CATS bus. The truck swerved around stopped vehicles before colliding with the bus at the bottom of the ramp from John Belk Freeway at East Third Street in uptown.

Investigators found that the truck’s brakes had failed. The truck had been loaned to Myers.

Thirteen passengers on that bus were taken to CMC with minor injuries. A video camera inside the bus showed passengers being abruptly tossed several yards across the bus – prompting a question: Why don’t CATS buses have seat belts for passengers?

When the Observer asked, CATS officials said in a statement that the Federal Transit Administration doesn’t require municipal buses to have seat belts.

The only seat belts on regular CATS buses are for drivers or to secure wheelchairs.

Steve Harrison contributed to this story.

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