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Runaway transit bus hits Center Street pole

By Judith Scherr and Chason Wainwright Daily Planet staff
Friday March 16, 2001

An AC transit bus, parked on the northeast corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Streets, took off on its own Thursday about 4 p.m., knocking over a traffic signal and sending a passerby and her baby to the hospital, witnesses said. 

Berkeley police at the scene said the pair were not hurt. An AC Transit spokesperson was not available for comment. 

“I heard a loud crash,” said a bystander, one of the Berkeley Guides, who wanted to be identified only as Guide No. 18. “The bus hit the pole. It looked like it hit the baby. The mother was screaming.” 

Anna Schavin and Mercy Star also saw the accident. They said the bus was traveling very slowly, at about 5-10 miles per hour. 

They said they witnessed the bus running into the pole and the pole going into the baby stroller. They said the mother grabbed the baby who was crying, but appeared unharmed. 

Henry Porche also witnessed the accident. “I looked up. There was no driver in the bus,” he said. 

Apparently, the driver had fixed the parking brake of the bus and had taken a break. The end of the No. 40 bus route is on the northeast corner of Shattuck and Center. No passengers were on the bus when it crossed Shattuck on its own.