On Friday October 21, at 6 pm, a tour bus drove into a tree on Hearst Avenue, destroying both the tree and the bus. Nobody apart from the driver was on the bus, and the driver sustained only minor injuries.
Traffic on Hearst was blocked for several hours during the investigation and clean up.
The 40-ft bus was traveling west on Hearst Avenue, east of Spruce Street, when the driver lost control and reported having no brakes, according to Lieutenant Kevin Schofield of the Berkeley Police Department. Just west of Spruce Street, the driver intentionally veered into a tree to stop the bus. He narrowly missed a cement pole and a fire hydrant, striking a large (30-40’) tree.
The bus effectively broke the tree in half before coming to a rest. The tree trunk was lodged under the bus and the top half of the tree was on top of the bus and entangled in the phone lines (not the power lines. The driver was treated and released at the scene by paramedics, declining to go to the hospital.
Luckily there were no passengers on the bus and no other pedestrians or vehicles were involved. The bus sustained major damage and will likely be a total loss.
City workers removed the tree from the lines and the top of the bus, and the bus was towed away. The remnants of the tree and the broken sidewalk remain and will be addressed later.
The driver showed no signs of impairment and was released at the scene. At this time, the cause of the collision appears to be mechanical failure with the bus.
[Hat-tip: Randolph Kielich]