No one injured in Peter Pan bus rollover in Danbury
UPDATE: Fire officials have cleared the accident scene but police remain on scene as of 4:13 p.m. The road was reopened before 5:30 p.m.
DANBURY — Brian Dick was on his porch when a Peter Pan bus rolled into the trees in his backyard.
The driver, the only person onboard, was unhurt.
“I heard a long bang off my back porch,” said Dick, who said he lived in the two-story wooden house on the corner of East Starrs Plain Road and West Redding Road for 13 years.
At first he thought the noise was a contractor’s truck, laden with equipment, hitting a bump in the road. But when he looked, he saw the passenger bus had rolled off West Redding Road, coming to rest on its side against a stand of tall trees along the eastern side of his property.
A driver following behind the bus helped pull the bus driver, a woman, out of the wreck, while Dick directed traffic and called 911.
Danbury Hospital EMS evaluated the driver who was not injured, said James Gagliardo, spokesman for the Danbury Fire Department. Crews were called to scene at 9:42 a.m.
Gagliardo said the cause of the crash was unclear, but that the bus slid off the road.
The crash closed down the area of West Redding Road between Hemlock Hill Road and East Starrs Plain Road.
The removal effort involved a crane truck and tow truck, at least two other fire and utility trucks, and several police cruisers to block off the road at either end of the scene.
Police said the bus had been providing service between train stations on the Danbury line, and was likely using West Redding Road as a cut-through. Metro North is substituting buses for trains to provide off-peak service during weekdays from now through the second week in November, in order to cut brush and improve the tracks, the rail service said.
Dick said accidents are common on his corner, where West Redding road makes a sharp narrow turn downhill at a triangle intersection.
He said most crashes occur when southbound traffic slides off the road headed downhill, but the bus was headed uphill - North - when it went off the road. Many crashes also miss the sharp turn and drive straight, slamming into a neighbor’s rockwall across the street.
Dick said he has reached out to the Department of Transportation about adding guardrails to the road.
“It’s very skinny roads, and if you’re not going the speed limit, or paying attention,” he said. “Maybe if it gets some attention, they’ll put some guardrails up with the mayor up for re-election.”