‘Packed’ PVTA bus drives off road

“We’re hoping he’s okay. We’re glad we’re okay”


Sophie Hauck/Daily Collegian (2022)

By Sophie Hauck and Jack Underhill

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Amherst police and fire units responded to an accident on North Pleasant St. after a Pioneer Valley Transit Authority bus drove into the lawn of the University of Massachusetts Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies.

The bus was traveling northbound on the 31 route, passing through the rotary at the intersection of North Pleasant St. and Governors Drive when the vehicle crossed over the rotary barrier into oncoming traffic, slowly pulling over the sidewalk and onto the grass.

A University of Massachusetts Police Department officer responding to the accident said the unidentified student bus driver experienced a “medical emergency” while driving. First-responders treated the driver on the scene before taking him away in an ambulance. No passengers were injured.

“When he veered into oncoming traffic… people were pretty calm,” said Kylie LaBianca, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major taking the bus at the time of the accident. “There were a few guys on the bus like, ‘Whoa dude, you okay there?’”

Passengers said that before the accident, the driver pulled over on North Pleasant St. and exited the vehicle for approximately 10 minutes.

“I thought they were just exchanging bus drivers because they do that from time to time at stops,” said Benjamin Guzman, a senior finance major onboard, who described the bus as “packed.”

Anthony Butler, a senior mechanical engineering major, exited the stopped bus and noticed the driver kneeling by the vehicle’s back right wheel in the moments before the accident. “I didn’t know what he was doing,” Butler said.

Butler described the driver fidgeting and touching his hair, saying he “seemed a little off.”

“We’re hoping he’s okay. We’re glad we’re okay,” added LaBianca.

The Amherst police and fire departments, as well as representatives from the PVTA, were unable to respond to requests for comment at the time of reporting.

Sophie Hauck can be reached at [email protected] and @SophieBHauck on Twitter. Jack Underhill can be reached at [email protected] and @jackunderhill16 on Twitter.