LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three boys in a black BMW on Monday ran a red light, hit and killed a pedestrian and broadsided a school bus that flipped on its side, leaving the bus driver and 18 high school students injured, authorities said.

The three juveniles fled on foot from the busy intersection in Boyle Heights, east of downtown Los Angeles, and were caught by a construction worker, who held them until police arrived and detained them, Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.

The bus driver was initially taken to a hospital in critical condition but later was upgraded to serious condition, authorities said. Eighteen high school students on the bus also were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Twenty-five other students on the bus were not hurt.

The three boys in the BMW were hospitalized Monday night with injuries suffered in the crash, California Highway Patrol spokesman Miguel Luevano said. Luevano did not give the boys’ names or exact ages. He did not know the extent of their injuries, but said they were bruised and bleeding at the scene.

The driver could be facing felony hit-and-run and manslaughter charges and the two passengers could face conspiracy charges for fleeing the scene, Luevano said. They will be taken to Eastlake Juvenile Hall for booking when released from the hospital, Luevano said. He said investigators were trying to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved.

The bus flipped at about 3:20 p.m. as the Roosevelt High School students were heading back to school from the East Los Angeles Skills Center, where they attend classes because of overcrowding.

Students began helping each other out of the bus through windows and emergency exits. The crash site was just a few blocks from a police and a fire station, and dozens of officers and firefighters were at the scene within minutes.

“They were here almost immediately,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at the news conference. “Thank God for that.”

Luevano said there were dozens of witnesses at the intersection, which also is home to a Gold Line light rail stop. Some of them may have helped the construction worker stop the three people from fleeing.

The uninjured students were taken to the nearby Hollenbeck police station, where they were interviewed by police and firefighters before being reunited with family members.

Television reports showed passengers being loaded onto gurneys at the crash site near the bus, which was lying on its side straddling the sidewalk and a portion of the road.

Susana Romero, an 11th-grader at Roosevelt, was on the bus when the crash occurred. She said she had no warning before hearing a loud crash and feeling the bus tip over.

“We were in the air,” said Romero, 16, wearing a white hooded sweat shirt and holding a Hello Kitty book bag. “We actually flew.”

Romero, who hit her head in two places but was not seriously hurt, said she saw students bleeding, including two of her close friends. She heard more sobs than screams.

“There was crying, but we were very protective of each other and helping each other out as we got off the bus,” Romero said. She said she and other students helped some of the injured kids out through the back emergency exit.

Eleven fire companies, eight ambulances, two fire battalion command units, one air ambulance and one heavy rescue unit responded to the crash.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. billie says:

    This is why we need seat belts on school buses people! Tried to get it mandated before but got pushed down by big business due to COST! Now several children are injured…..What will it take…..several children killed? Oh yes. that has already happened.

  2. tn says:

    Seat belts will leave too much (blood) money on the table. Think about it (hospitals, doctors, lawyers, police, emergency, city administration, auto repair, new auto, bus repair, more taxes, bills, more lawyers). Right or wrong, it’s a sad fact. Until a mayor’s child, a senator’s niece, an assemblyman’s cousin, or a governor’s nephew becomes a casualty, the only thing they’ll be checking on buses are the brakes and the operator’s driving record.

  3. an eye for an ey says:

    The son of a biiitch needs to be slaughter not a fukcking felony hit and run my a$$$ess.

  4. an eye for an ey says:

    The son of a biiitch needs to be slaughter not a fukcking felony hit and run my a$$$ess

  5. McD56 says:

    The driver of the bmw needs his butt kicked up around his ears and then locked up for the rest of his worthless life. There is NO excuse for running a red light….PAY ATTENTION—-GET OFF THE FRIGGIN PHONE—-DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE……..DAMN—P.S. don’t give out the names and ages of the sweet little angels, they have their rights to kill ya know……

  6. SL says:

    I hope school bus seat belt will be installed for safety purposes in case of unexpected accidents… please do this for the sake of the taxpayers money… we want our kids to be safe while riding in the school bus…

  7. husky lover says:

    hi. does anyone have any husky training techniques?

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