SEPTA bus hits Center City cafe after collision

CENTER CITY - August 10, 2010

At least three people were hurt.

Around 1:45 a.m., residents inside buildings were jolted from their beds. Patrons inside Monk's Café heard a bang and instantly knew something was wrong.

At 16th and Spruce Streets a Delaware River Port Authority SUV with two officers inside collided with a SEPTA bus, sending the bus careening into a light pole, which punctured the front window and the roof. Then, the bus plunged right into the front of Monk's Café, where a handful of customers were finishing up ahead of last call.

It is believed the DRPA vehicle was heading to an emergency at a PATCO underground statio when the crash occurred. The nature of that emergency is still unclear.

Tom Peters, the owner of Monk's Café, tells Action News, "There was no jolt to the building. Just this loud noise and a cloud of dust."

Bar patron Valerie Morris was inside Monk's when the accident occurred. She recounts what happened next: "We were just getting ready to leave and the staff in a panicked way asked us to leave and we all shuffled down the back door and down the back alley, came outside and saw that there had been a bus in the front entrance."

Many felt very lucky that they were not in the way when the collision happened.

"Right where the bus hit, I had been smoking a cigarette," says Thomas Murphy. "So, 10 minutes could have made the difference between my life right now... and me talking to you and me not being here anymore."

Both DRPA officers and the SEPTA bus driver were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. All were treated and released for minor injuries.

L&I inspected Monk's Café overnight and deemed the structural integrity of the building to be safe. However, residents cannot go back into the building right now. The Red Cross and the landlord are helping them to find places to stay.

Peters said he hopes to have Monk's open again in about two weeks.

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