A Muni bus driver was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after the bus he was driving crossed over a center divider and slammed into a tree and a building in San Francisco early Monday morning, according to officials.
The crash happened around 5:45 a.m. in the area of Lombard and Scott streets, according to police. A passenger on the bus suffered non-life threatening injuries and was also transported to the hospital.
Fire officials initially reported that four people were injured in the crash. Police later stated that at least two people were hurt.
It is not clear at this time what led up to the crash. An investigation is ongoing, according to police.
Dash camera footage captured the bus cross into oncoming traffic along Lombard Street and veer across multiple lanes before plowing into the tree and the building, which houses Priority Express Cleaners. The bus also clipped a parked van as it came to rest on the sidewalk.
Chuck Kim, who owns Priority Express Cleaners, describes his family as "lucky." Kim said his family lives in a residence behind the business and if the incident happened later in the day, they could have been in the front of the store along with dozens of people.
As it turns out, a tree right in front of the shop blunted the impact and probably saved lives.
"When a tree gets uprooted, it kind of feels like an earthquake for a slight bit," Kim said. "So I woke up, checked the cameras and I noticed there was a bus in front of our store."
A city inspector was called to the scene to examine the structural damage to the building that was hit, according to fire officials.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials said the 66-year-old Muni bus operator had previously been honored as an annual "safe driver."
"It's too early now to say what the cause is, but that's what we're working on -- to get to the bottom of it," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.
Westbound lanes of Lombard Street were closed at Pierce Street as a result of the wreck, police stated.