ORLANDO, Fla. — Police arrested a woman on DUI charges in connection with a crash involving a Lynx bus that injured several passengers and sent the bus driver to a hospital in critical condition early Friday morning.
- Car crashes into Lynx bus in Orlando; 6 sent to hospitals
- Driver of Toyota Camry arrested on DUI charges
- Bus driver in critical condition; others in serious condition
- RELATED: PHOTOS: In October, a Lynx Bus Overturned on I-4, Sending to Hospitals
The crash happened just before 2 a.m. at the intersection of Carter Street and South Westmoreland Drive, just west of downtown Orlando. South Westmoreland Drive was closed between Carter Street and Long Street but has since reopened.
#BREAKING Several people hurt in LYNX bus crash involving a car just west of dtown Orlando.— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) January 31, 2020
Crash happened just before 2am.
Intersection of Carter St & S Westmoreland Dr closed.
@MyNews13 #News13Orange pic.twitter.com/n6C28UNWXf
Police arrested Amanda Gilliland, 22, of Daytona Beach, on DUI charges.
Investigators say Gilliland's Toyota Camry had no headlights on and blew through a stop sign at Westmoreland Drive and Carter Street, striking the bus, which then traveled off the road and struck with a concrete wall supporting State Road 408.
The impact broke off a chunk of concrete from a support section of the S.R. 408 overpass.
Police say Gilliland smelled of alcohol and refused field sobriety tests unless she had legal counsel. She was taken to Orange County Jail.
Vera Mason was doing early-morning cleaning at her home when she heard a violent crash.
"I heard a boom like somebody slammed on the brakes, and I was like, 'That’s the bus' — I literally just saw the bus ride by," she said.
Orlando Police say video from a city-operated camera shows a Toyota Camry going through a stop sign on Carter Street and crashing into the Lynx bus, causing it to crash into the concrete support.
Mason rushed onto the bus.
"They’re pulling people off the bus... So I get on the bus, and the driver was pinned, and it was an accident, and they were laid out on the ground," she said. "I’m like (to first-responders), 'You all need to get here.' "
Crews have towed the car involved in this crash, and they’re now working to tow the Lynx bus.— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) January 31, 2020
A witness says she ran to the scene right after the crash to help the @lynxbusorlando driver and passengers, who she says were seriously hurt. @MyNews13 #News13Orange pic.twitter.com/mNsI7DYGNi
Investigators say the Camry's driver, Amanda Gilliland, smelled like alcohol and had a mark on her hand from a nearby nightclub. Officers arrested Gilliland and charged her with DUI.
Until paramedics could arrive, Mason tried to comfort five people who were riding on the bus, plus the bus driver, who was in bad shape.
"I’m like, 'No sir don’t move, they’re coming,' " she told the driver. "He said he’s hurt and can’t feel anything, and then he began to nod, and I was like, 'No, no they’re coming, they’re coming,' "
Police said five passengers were taken to a hospital with serious injuries. The bus driver, however, was in critical condition.
"I just pray he’s OK," Mason said.
As for the structural integrity of the State Road 408 support column, the Florida Department of Transportation tells Spectrum News 13 that crews who gave it an initial assessment said the overpass is safe for travel.
A witness says she jumped on the bus right after crash happened to help the driver of the @lynxbusorlando driver and passengers who she says had serious injuries.— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) January 31, 2020
You’ll hear from her beginning at 5am on @MyNews13 #News13Orange pic.twitter.com/9qXyfu06cB