Firemen Corral Bus

Firemen Corral Bus

El Cerrito, Calif., firemen, using fire trucks as cow ponies, a heavy tow rope as a lariat and the main highway on the east side of San Francisco Bay as their corral, successfully bulldogged a runaway Greyhound Lines bus that caromed like a juggernaut through early morning traffic after a head-on collision with an auto had knocked the bus driver unconscious and put the brakes out of commission.

Police later reconstructed the spectacular event as follows:

The bus was going south on East Shore Boulevard. El Cerrito, loaded with defense workers when a car driven by Victor J. Yellis, shipyard worker of Berkeley, collided head-on with it, killing Yellis and injuring a girl and another man riding with him.

Eleven Die in Triple Crash At least eleven persons lost their lives in this flaming inferno when a gasoline tank truck exploded after it had collided with a Queen City Trailways bus at Lumberton, N. C., on October 3. Eighteen persons were injured and managed somehow to clear themselves from the burning wreckage. All that remains of the bus and truck is a mass of charred steel. The pre-dawn tragedy occurred on U. S. Route 31 when the gasoline truck (left) going north, sideswiped a truck (right) and swerved across the road and ploughed into the fully-loaded bus (center).

The crash put the bus’ brakes and lights out of order and knocked the driver. Lawrence Oie. 28, of Vallejo, unconscious. Two soldiers and a civilian managed to get Oie out of the driver’s seat. One of them steered the bus as it ran away down the slight grade.

Other passengers sprinted ahead of the bus, warning away oncoming vehicles. Someone called the El Cerrito Fire Department.

Two trucks sped down the highway, overtaking the bus. One, its red lights blazing, was maneuvered in front of the slowly but surely moving bus. The othey, driven by Fire Captain Don Bonini, attempted to get a line aboard the bus, a line that could be used to halt it.

Seeing that the bus could not be stopped that way, Capt. Bonini hastily swung the fire truck around, then raced in reverse after the bus. Working in deadly peril from the rear step of the truck, firemen, aided by the expert driving of Capt. Bonini, managed to hook a tow rope around the rear motor support of the bus.

With the line made last, Capt. Bonini threw his truck into low gear and gently applying the brakes, the big, lumbering bus finally came to a stop.

The other fire truck, its siren howling and reel lights glowing in the early morning light, had successfully warned off approaching traffic, although at one intersection it nearly hit a car driven by a motorist who was later arrested for failing to give right of way to a fire department vehicle.

Eleven passengers aboard the bus were hurt in the original crash.

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