Five people were injured after a tree hit a city bus and one car on the Honolulu-bound lanes of Pali Highway this morning.
Most seriously injured was the bus driver, Don Pedro, 63. He was is in serious condition at Queen’s Medical Center with head injuries. Four passengers also were taken to the hospital, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Roger Morton, executive director for TheBus, said a tree on the Honolulu-bound side of the Pali Highway fell and demolished the front end of bus 57.
The 60-foot Ironwood tree also hit a car which was ahead of the bus in the left lane, Morton said. The bus and car collided and the bus crossed the median strip and traveled 300 yards before ending up in the Kailua-bound lane.
Morton said Pedro apparently was knocked unconscious.
Morton said he was trying to confirm a report that one of the 10 passengers in the bus came to Pedro’s aid and stopped the bus.
Pedro has been a driver with TheBus for 36 years. His brother is also a driver.
Morton said that Pedro is one of the company’s “senior guy” with “a good solid record.”
In his 40 years with the city bus company Morton said that “nothing like this has happened before.”
There were 10 passengers on the bus when the accident happened at 10:50 a.m.
Four ambulances were summoned to the scene.
Although there may have been several cars in the Kailua-bound lanes when the accident occurred, Morton said that none of them seemed to have suffered any major damages since their drivers immediately left the accident scene.
The tree was two feet in diameter and was cleared from the highway by three state transportation maintenance crews.
“It appears it was a freak accident,” Morton added.
Police closed the highway to Honolulu-bound traffic at Castle Junction briefly. By 12:15 p.m. one lane was open in either direction.