New video shows terrifying moment speeding car crashes into school bus
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KOAT/CNN) — Newly released video from the Albuquerque Police Department shows the terrifying moment a school bus was hit by a driver who investigators said was racing another car.
A camera on the bus captured the moment the crash happened. Students can be heard screaming within seconds before the crash. That same camera also shows the bus driver and two other men helping students.
Seven students were transported to the hospital, Albuquerque police said Wednesday. Two of those students needed surgery for fractured bones after a school bus got into a rollover crash, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
A spokesperson with Albuquerque Public Schools said 23 students were aboard the school bus when a white Mustang hit its rear tire, causing the bus to tip over.
It happened just after 4 p.m. Feb. 23, on Gibson Boulevard Southwest and Messina Drive Southwest.
According to court documents, the driver of the white Mustang is 49-year-old Mario Perez, of Albuquerque, who lives a quarter of a mile from where the crash happened.
Albuquerque police said they spoke with several witnesses who told them Perez was racing another Mustang moments before the crash.
Body camera video shows officers trying to figure out what happened while calming down students and families.
Police said that around 4 p.m., Perez was traveling westbound on Gibson Boulevard in the right lane at a high rate of speed. Witnesses told investigators they believed Perez was driving faster than 110 mph.
At the same time, a school bus with about 20 students on board was traveling northbound on Messina Drive. The 56-year-old bus driver told police he had picked up the kids from George Sanchez Middle School and was driving his normal route. He also told officers he was going roughly 9 mph going through the intersection.
Police records state Perez told the bus driver he was going 65 mph to 80 mph when the crash happened. The posted speed limit on Gibson Boulevard is 40 mph.
One witness told police she was traveling behind Perez moments before the crash. She told officers Perez was racing a blue Mustang and that she saw a cloud of smoke and debris moments later.
Another witness, who said he was traveling behind the bus, told police he saw two Mustangs racing and he did not see Perez attempt to brake prior to the crash.
All crash victims are expected to survive their injuries, police said.
Two teens need surgery following extensive injuries related to the crash. A 14-year-old has a fractured pelvis and a 13-year-old has a leg fracture.
A camera on the bus shows the 13-year-old talking with the bus driver as they try and help him.
Perez is charged with two counts of great bodily harm by vehicle.
Police said an Albuquerque Public Schools principal responsible for those students called parents and asked them to meet just west of Messina and Gibson to pick up the children.
“We’re keeping the kids who went through this scary incident and their families in our prayers and are grateful that there are no life-threatening injuries at this time. Thank you to the first responders who acted swiftly to make sure the kids were safe and got the help they needed, preventing this from turning into a worse situation,” Mayor Tim Keller said.
In an email, the University of New Mexico Hospital told KOAT that four patients from the crash were transported there.
Presbyterian Hospitals confirmed that some of those involved in the crash were checked in but they could not confirm how many. Lovelace Hospitals said it received patients as well.
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