By Madina Toure
A 60-year-old man driving the wrong way on a Hillcrest street in front of St. John’s University died after he crashed into an MTA bus Monday night, police said. The bus driver and a female passenger on the bus suffered injuries.
At about 8:30 p.m., police responded to a call of a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Union Turnpike and 174th Street, according to the police.
The accident involved a 2004 Ford Sedan and a 2011 MTA New York City Transit bus, police said.
The operator of the Ford was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS, officials said.
“The university was saddened to learn of a tragic occurrence on Monday night that resulted in a fatal car accident outside one of our main gates on Union Turnpike,” the university said in a statement. “The entire St. John’s community mourns the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and his family.”
The 44-year-old male operator of the bus was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital with minor injuries and a 64-year-old female passenger on the bus was taken to Queens General Hospital with minor injuries, police said.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the Ford was traveling westbound on Union Turnpike when it veered into the eastbound lanes and collided head-on with the bus, which was traveling eastbound in the right lane on Union Turnpike east of East 174th Street, police said.
The identity of the Ford’s driver was pending family notification and the investigation was ongoing by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad, a police spokesman said.
Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said the structure of the bus may have saved lives.
“The overall structural integrity of the bus was able to prevent an even further tragedy by protecting the bus operator and customers on the bus,” Ortiz said in a statement.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour