TIMES SQUARE — At least 14 people were injured when a red double-decker tour bus hit another one and jumped the curb by the TKTS booth Tuesday afternoon, knocking over a traffic signal, witnesses and officials said.
Tourists and office workers scrambled for safety as the Gray Line sightseeing bus sped into a blue double-decker City Sights tour bus about 3:20 p.m. smashing into a black concrete pedestrian bench and knocking over a street light, according to the FDNY and witnesses.
"I was standing there checking tickets and the bus was supposed to stop at the corner to pick up customers, but it just shooted off. It accelerated and it hit that black thing," said Debbie Bailey, 31, a ticket seller for Gray Line.
"There was a loud bang and the pole fell on the floor and hit everyone standing there."
The Gray Line's driver, William Dalambert, a 58-year-old New Jersey man, was arrested for driving while his ability was impaired, police said.
The red bus was empty save for the female tour guide, whose head was lodged under the bus dashboard during the accident, FDNY Deputy Chief Roger Sakowich said.
The injured people, three in serious condition with broken bones, were taken to Roosevelt Hospital and other hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, a fire department spokesman said.
"We were pretty fortunate because the buses were not fully occupied. In fact, one was empty and one had a tour guide in it," Sakowich said.
FDNY officials said the cause of the accident was unknown at this time, but the NYPD was investigating. Both Gray Line and City Sights are owned by parent company Twin America.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured," company spokesman David Chien said. "We are cooperating with authorities."
Twitter photos from the scene, at West 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, show a baby carriage underneath the fallen street signal. The woman can be seen holding the child beside the wreckage.
The windshield of the Gray Line bus was smashed in and the door was twisted.
Some pedestrians suffered from the direct impact of the bus on the sidewalk, but most of the injuries came from debris flying off the smashed street light, witnesses said.
"There was a woman sitting on the ledge outside the bus," tourist Greg Mooney, 50, said, referring to a black concrete pedestrian bench. "The bus hit her and then knocked down the pole. And then the pole hit another woman sitting a way down the road. Three or four others got scrapes and scratches from shrapnel."
Orville Anderson, 42, of the Bronx, was in Times Square celebrating his birthday.
"It was scary," he said. "I was praying and hoping that nobody got killed."