Just before noon Friday an out-of-control Penske rental truck struck a school bus filled with children on Hillside Avenue and then rammed a fruit store, pinning a pedestrian, the Fire Department said. At least 30 people were taken to the hospital.
New Giant Farm, located on the corner of Hillside Avenue and Hollis Court Boulevard, was hit by the truck after a three-car collision which involved at least 30 people, a fire official said.
Mark Ferran, deputy chief of FDNY, described the scene when emergency services arrived in Queens Village right off the Grand Central.
“The crash severely damaged the store,” she said.“When we arrived, there was a woman pinned between the truck and the fruit case and we also had the truck driver pinned inside the truck. 301 Engine immediately went to work on the two victims. We extricated them and were able to get them into the ambulance and transport them to Jamaica Hospital.”
A black Honda Accord with two passengers was also struck, the chief said.
“There were two people in the civilian car and 24 kids on the school bus,” Ferran told reporters at the scene. “One had to be immediately transported,. The injuries were not too serious ,but the victim still needed to be taken to the hospital. The other 23 on the bus were evaluated and taken to LIJ”
Mariel Dominguez was working on the third cash register inside New Giant Farm at the time of the accident.
“I heard a loud sound, and impact and then I saw my manager run,” he said in Spanish. “ I saw the woman who was injured, she was in her mid-40s and was conscious and talking. She wanted to get out from under the truck.”
Yun Kyung, brother of the manager, was also in the store when the crash happened.
“There was a loud sound at the front and I ran to check what happened I didn’t see it. This is bad for business because the weekend is a busy time for the store, but we plan on reopening as soon as possible.”
The cause of the crash has still not been determined, Ferran said.-
“PD is going to investigate how and why this accident happened,” he said. “We shored up the store to make sure the roof doesn’t collapse when they pull the truck out. That was the danger our guys faced when they were extracting the people. We had to worry about the roof coming down. They did a great job”