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26 Injured in 1 : 2 Studio City Crashes of RTD Buses Hurt 33

Times Staff Writer

Twenty-six people were hurt, none seriously, when one Rapid Transit District bus struck another Friday morning in Studio City, Fire Department officials said.

The accident, which occurred at 9:15 a.m. at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Carpenter Avenue, was the third this month involving mass transit vehicles.

It was followed by yet another accident at 9:40 p.m. Friday night when an RTD bus with 18 passengers aboard collided with a Cadillac in the 11100 block of Ventura Boulevard, hospitalizing the driver of the car and one passenger on the bus, Fire Department officials said. Five other passengers were treated at the scene and released.

The passengers injured Friday morning complained of neck and back pains and were examined at the scene by a triage team flown by helicopter from UCLA Medical Center.

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Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman Greg Acevedo said 11 passengers were taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. Officials of those hospitals said the passengers were treated and released.

RTD spokesman Jim Smart said the accident occurred when one of the bus drivers apparently swerved to avoid a car and crashed into the rear of another bus that had stopped at the intersection to pick up and drop off passengers.

Broken Glass

The windshield of the moving bus and the rear window of the stopped bus were shattered.

Smart said both drivers will be tested for drug and alcohol consumption, in accordance with a policy adopted last year requiring RTD drivers to undergo such testing when involved in accidents involving property or personal injury.

Smart said there is no evidence, however, that either driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Fire Capt. John P. Brodie, who accompanied the first fire engine at the scene, said of the drivers, “There wasn’t anything obvious that would lead us to believe they were anything less than sober and coherent.”

Another rear-end collision involving two RTD buses on May 12 in downtown Los Angeles injured 23 people.

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In that accident, one of the drivers, Vivian Harris, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs. She pleaded not guilty in Municipal Court.

Two dozen people were injured in an accident on May 14, when the driver of an Alamo Rent-A-Car minibus lost control and careened down Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport, striking 15 other vehicles and injuring 24 people, police said.

Pamela Quijada, 29, the driver of the minibus, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Fire Department officials said most of the injuries in the airport accident were minor. However, one woman, 85, who had just arrived from Italy, suffered a broken hip.

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Rate Declining

RTD spokesman Jim Smart, although conceding that the company has had “quite a few accidents,” said the rate is actually declining.

The rate of accidents per 100,000 miles of travel, he said, dropped from 5.1% in 1984 to 4.9% in 1985. Through March of this year, he said, the accident rate stayed at 4.6%.

“People forget we have a greater amount of traffic out on the road every year, so the opportunity for accidents is greater,” he said.

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“With 2,000 buses running seven days a week and carrying 5 million passengers, there’s bound to be accidents.”


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