Dramatic images show bus hanging off New York City overpass; driver refuses drug test

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NEW YORK (NEXSTAR) — A bus dramatically plunged off a bridge in New York City late Thursday, leaving its front half hanging over a highway ramp, its fall broken only by the road below.

The 55-year-old driver broke his jaw in the crash and refused to submit to a drug and alcohol test after arriving at the hospital, authorities said Friday.

Seven passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash, which happened after 11 p.m. near an interchange of the Cross Bronx and Major Deegan expressways. They were taken to hospitals. No other vehicles were involved.

One part of the articulated bus — essentially two buses connected by a pivot that allows it to navigate turns — remained on the bridge, with the other half vertical, its smashed front end resting on a ramp connecting the two expressways.

“The bus fell approximately 50 feet onto the access road. The patients suffered injuries consistent with a fall from such a great height,” Deputy Fire Chief Paul Hopper said in a social media post.

The shocking scene looked like something “out of a movie,” one bystander remarked.

Nearly seven hours later, around 6 a.m., crews successfully pulled the bus back up and onto the overpass, according to WPIX.

Speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said, adding no mechanical issues were detected in the bus. The MTA said it was conducting “a full investigation and will implement lessons learned in order to prevent it from happening again.”

The driver, whose name was not released, was driving his regular route. He has more than 11 years of service and a good safety record, the MTA said. The driver passed a breath test at the scene of the crash but then refused to submit to a later drug and alcohol test at the hospital, said Patrick Warren, the MTA’s chief safety and security officer.

“This is obviously a terrible tragedy and our heart goes out to the passengers on the bus and their families who had to go through this,” said Patrick Warren, MTA chief safety and security officer. “We will continue to provide any support we can to them. I want to thank the NYPD and FDNY for their swift action in this case; we will continue to investigate this incident fully to ensure this does not happen again.”

The MTA released the following statement Friday morning:

The MTA’s goal is to have the safest transportation system in the nation, and when an incident like this occurs we take it very seriously. We are conducting a full investigation and will implement lessons learned in order to prevent it from happening again. We are certain this was a terrifying incident for those customers on the bus. Our hearts go out to them with hope that they can recover quickly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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