Center City Philadelphia multi-vehicle collision injures 19, damages bank

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Thursday, February 18, 2016
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At least 19 people were injured in a chain reaction crash in Center City.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are investigating a multi-vehicle crash involving a school bus, a taxi, and a SEPTA bus that injured 19 people and smashed the front of a bank.

The accident occurred just before noon Thursday at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.

Courtesy: Facebook/Jessica DeJesus

The school bus belonging to the Philadelphia School District, taxi, and a Lincoln SUV rammed into the TD Bank across from the northwest side of City Hall.

No one in the bank or on the sidewalk was reported injured.

Courtesy: Connor Phelan /Twitter

Witness Anthony Ouelette had just walked away from the outdoor ATM which was smashed.

"Thank God that I wasn't at the ATM when that happened," Ouelette said.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, TD Bank says:

We are thankful no one was seriously injured in this accident - the safety of our customers and employees is our number one concern.

The school bus was empty, but the driver is being treated at a hospital.

Courtesy: Dan Aleksander/ Twitter

Police blocked off traffic and got those claiming to be injured taken to several hospitals.

14 of the injured were brought to Jefferson University Hospital.

"Luckily it was pretty much minor injuries, at this point, that I've seen myself. Some back pain, some neck sprains, some contusions, some hip pain, that kind of thing, a few headaches," Dr. Theodore Christopher of Jefferson Hospital said.

SEPTA officials tell Action News a Route 17 bus was involved in the crash.

"Multiple vehicle collided off each other. There was a school bus, a SEPTA bus, a taxicab, and several other vehicles, some of which ended up hitting the TD Bank," Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Palumbo said.

The cab driver, Stephen Friedberg, tells Action News the chain reaction fiasco began when he was rear-ended by the SEPTA bus.

"A SEPTA bus hit me in the very rear of my taxi and knocked me out of control. Also, at the same time, the gas pedal got stuck. It was crazy. I went completely across JFK, through the light at 15th Street, and, I guess, the school bus and the black car that were involved in the accident went to my left and I veered them to the left," Friedberg said.

A Transit Police vehicle was also involved in the crash.