UPDATE: Passengers say bus driver did her best in tough situation
There were some surprising and intense moments for people on a public bus Monday afternoon.
Passengers on a Chattanooga CARTA bus say they were caught off guard when a car slammed into the side of it.
Multiple people were taken to the hospital. At least one of them was seriously injured.
The accident happened around 1 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Main Street and Reggie White Boulevard.
"Glass went everywhere. Next I know, the lights went out on the bus," says passenger Eddie Caldwell.
Caldwell was on CARTA bus 113, along with 20 other passengers, when he says all of the sudden a gold car slammed into the side of the bus.
"I'm like, 'Is this car going to stop?' Then all the sudden it kept going and we hit collision on. Full force," he says.
Caldwell says all he could do was hold on, as the bus careened out of control.
"It hit this tree right here, where you can see, it shot us over there through the fence. The tree really knocked us to the right a little bit, toward the field over there."
The tree sliced open part of the bus with parts like a phone getting snagged along the way. It then crashed through a fence, past an on-ramp.
"People was screaming. A couple of old people were sore and hurt.," says Caldwell.
"We ended up with a number of individuals that need to be transported," says Bruce Garner with Chattanooga Fire Department.
First responders whisked away eight injured people from the scene. Some of them were complaining about back and shoulder pain. One person in the car was seriously injured. Chattanooga Fire had use the jaws of life to get that person out.
"Witness statements indicate that the other vehicle ran the stop sign," says Jill Veron, Director of Transportation for CARTA.
She says CARTA will be looking into all aspects of the accident.
"It could have been worse. I'm glad it wasn't any worse than it was," says Veron.
Passengers give credit to the bus driver for keeping her cool.
"She did her best. She did her best. The only thing I was worried about was the bus turning over on its side. That was my biggest concern," says Caldwell.
Visibly shaken, the driver was driven away.
"She's got some bumps and bruises. She's pretty shaken up. Otherwise I think she's ok," says Veron.
The accident is still under investigation by Chattanooga Police.
"I'm just glad nobody died or nothing. That's the only thing I'm glad about," says Caldwell.