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SUV that triggered Metro bus crash ran red light, officials say

Photo: Los Angeles City Building and Safety inspector Ed Garcia places a yellow tag placard on the building damaged by an MTA "flexbus" that crashed into two stores at the southwest corner of Central Avenue and 3rd Street in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

An articulated Metro bus that crashed into two downtown L.A. stores Wednesday was hit by a driver who ran a red light, causing the bus driver to lose control, officials said.

The bus was traveling south on Central Avenue about 5 a.m. when an SUV going west on 3rd Street ran a red light, according to a preliminary report, and hit the bus behind its left front wheel, said Luis Inzunza, a spokesman for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"After the bus was hit by the truck, the bus collided into the JHA building located at 301 Central Ave.," Inzunza wrote in a email.

Inzunza said the bus, a Metro Rapid on line 720, had just pulled out of its division and there were no passengers on board at the time.

Los Angeles police said earlier that a white Nissan Pathfinder had turned left in front of the bus, which swerved to avoid it and crashed into two stores in a building at the southwest corner of Central Avenue and 3rd Street.

Metro officials and authorities said the SUV driver was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Inzunza said the bus operator was not taken to a hospital but later complained of right leg pain from the knee down.

Officials said a passenger in the SUV fled the scene. The bus was extricated from the building, which was significantly damaged.

ALSO:

MTA bus crashes into building in downtown L.A.

-- Ari Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Los Angeles City Building and Safety inspector Ed Garcia places a yellow tag placard on the building damaged by an MTA "flexbus" that crashed into two stores at the southwest corner of Central Avenue and 3rd Street in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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