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Crash sends a Metro bus onto front yard on Walden

A Metro bus veered off the road and rumbled to a stop in a Cheektowaga front yard after a chain-reaction crash Wednesday that sent seven people to area hospitals with minor injuries, police reported.

Charges were not immediately filed, and no one appeared to be seriously injured in the crash, which briefly left the bus stuck in the front lawn on Walden Avenue.

The incident began shortly after 2:30 p.m. when a Metro bus driven by John M. Chudzinski, 61, of Sloan, was traveling east on Walden between Pine Ridge and Harlem roads, said Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police.
A car sitting on the westbound side of the road began to pull away from its parking spot. A Cadillac sedan traveling west on Walden swerved to avoid that car and crossed the center line of the road.

The bus tried to avoid the Cadillac but ended up hitting the sedan in its passenger side, spinning it 180 degrees.

The bus driver did manage to avoid hitting trees and power lines before the bus came to a stop on the lawn.

The bus scraped the house's front porch, damaging the porch and the roof of the bus.

"The [bus] driver did a good job trying to avoid what could have been a life-threatening accident," said Officer Dave Capretto of the NFTA police accident investigation unit.

Firefighters had to cut away a fence that blocked access to the bus before Rural/Metro Medical Services paramedics could treat and remove the driver and six passengers.

Those seven were taken to area hospitals after complaining of neck and back pain, though none of the injuries appeared life-threatening, said NFTA Police Officer Mike LiVicci.

The driver of the Cadillac, Wallace Benson Jr., 50, of Buffalo, an adult woman and three children who also were in the vehicle were taken to Women and Children's Hospital for observation.

Benson did not have a valid driver's license, Capretto said.

Along with NFTA police, Cheektowaga police and firefighters from the Pine Hill and Walden fire departments responded.

The bus was stuck on the lawn until 4:05 p.m., when a Metro tow truck pulled it out far enough to be driven away.


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