DOWNTOWN — A woman walking on Michigan Avenue was pinned under an articulated CTA bus and killed and nine others were hurt Tuesday evening when the bus crashed onto a busy sidewalk filled with people headed home from work.
Witnesses said CTA's No. 148 bus was trying to avoid another car when it veered off Michigan Avenue at 5:48 p.m. and plowed into a crowd at the northeast corner of Michigan and Lake, just outside the Illinois Center's plaza.
Screams filled the street as bystanders tried desperately to pull people from under the accordion-style bus. When firefighters arrived, they crawled under the bus looking for victims.
A 51-year-old woman was pulled from under the bus, but later died. Her name had not been released as of late Tuesday.
Of the injured, one person was in critical condition, said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
Squad cars, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency equipment swarmed Michigan Avenue, creating a sea of emergency lights and traffic jams in every direction Downtown.
Four or five cars were also involved in the crash, including one that ended up with a wheel bent awkwardly off its axle.
CTA officials did not know the cause of the accident. The agency is pulling video from inside the bus as part of an investigation, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele.
Kyla Gardner describes the scene after the crash:
The bus traveling east on Lake Street was empty at the time, Langford said. The driver of the bus hit his head and was injured, officials said.
Most of the people who were injured were in those cars, Langford said.
Both people in critical condition were sent to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, fire officials said.
A man who said he was driving one of the cars that was hit said it looked like the bus driver was trying to avoid hitting something near the Lake and Michigan intersection.
Emergency crews blocked off multiple streets and at least 10 ambulances were at the scene shortly after the incident. A CVS at the intersection remained closed after the incident.
At least one person was taken from the scene to an ambulance by a stretcher, witnesses said.
Juan Fabian Garcia, who was at work in a high-rise nearby, said he heard a "big bang" and thought initially someone was "filming a movie."
Maddie Guy, who works in a building near the crash site, saw co-workers who left shortly before her come back in the lobby, visibly shaken and "bawling."
"It had to be bad if they were crying that badly," Guy said.
Responders were also looking for people who may have been trapped under the bus, witnesses said.
Guy said she saw police officers pulling people from the scene.
"The police officers were literally climbing under the bus and pulling them out from under the bus," Guy said.
Langford said responders thought there may have been a second person hit under the bus, but that person was not found under the bus.
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