Truck hits school bus, fruit store on Hillside Avenue

By Madina Toure

A 60-year-old man driving an out-of-control Penske rental struck a school bus with 23 second-graders on Hillside Avenue and rammed a fruit store, pinning a 35-year-old woman last Friday, the NYPD said.

The truck driver was traveling southbound on the Clearview Expressway, a police spokesman said. When he arrived at the intersection of Hillside Avenue in Queens Village at about 11:40 a.m., he collided with a school bus carrying the 23 children and four adults.

The bus driver, a 57-year-old man, was traveling westbound on Hillside Avenue, the spokesman said.

The truck driver struck another vehicle, driven by a 35-year-old man, who was traveling eastbound on Hillside Avenue.

The truck then hit New Giant Farm, a fruit store located on the corner of Hillside Avenue and Hollis Court Boulevard, pinning the woman, the spokesman added. The woman was not critically injured.

Mark Ferran, the FDNY’s deputy chief, described the scene when emergency services arrived in Queens Village right off the Grand Central.

“The crash severely damaged the store,” he 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.”

All the vehicle drivers were taken to local area hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, according to the police spokesman. One child on the school bus was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center for minor injuries.

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,” Kyung said. “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 not yet been determined, a police spokesman said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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