SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU/AP) - 20 people were injured when a double-decker tour bus crashed at the busy Union Square intersection of Post & Stockton in San Francisco Friday afternoon, according to police. San Francisco Police Department said six of those injured are in critical condition. The crash was reported at 2:57 p.m.
SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza said the bus was seen traveling at a high rate of speed when it lost control and continued to crash into a bicyclist, at least two pedestrians, and several cars before it came to a stop when it ran into scaffolding at a nearby construction site. Witnesses described the bus driving erratically.
The driver of the wayward tour bus that crashed into five vehicles is said to be in critical condition. It is not known if the bus driver had a prior medical condition. Investigators said the driver will be tested for drugs and alcohol.
SF Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said it was too early to speculate about what caused him to lose control. The driver was conscious and able to speak when firefighters pulled him from the wreckage, Hayes-White said.
"The police department will investigate what those circumstances involved, whether it was mechanical failure, whether it was driver error. It's way too early to tell right now," she said.
Officer Esparza couldn't immediately say which bus company owned the vehicle.
The fire department said six people had to be extricated, at least two of them from underneath the bus as well as one trapped on the top deck. As many as 30 people were believed to have been on board when the vehicle went out of control, officials said.
SF Fire Dept. spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge updated the situation saying three people had suffered moderate to life threatening injuries, and that no children were injured.
Talmadge said a minimum of five cars are totaled and that the bus lost control for several blocks striking some pedestrians and the cyclist along the way. The cyclist is said to be among those who are critically injured.
Ambulances responded to 260 Stockton in front of Tiffany's on the same block where the former Levi's store is under construction to make way for a new Apple store.
John Zimmer, who works at the park, said the bus didn't seem to slow until it hit the construction scaffolding.
He said he and others tried to put up a perimeter to keep tourists and others away from the live electrical lines until authorities arrived.
Hoda Emam said she rounded a corner at the square immediately after the crash to see a chaotic scene unfolding, with emergency workers sprinting toward the injured as emergency vehicles arrived with their sirens blaring. Wrecked cars were scattered along the bus' path.
SFPD said Post Street is shutdown from the 200 to 500 blocks. Triage had been set up at the scene, but all the patients were said to have been taken to area hospitals.
Due to the SFPD activity in the area, Muni lines 8, 30, 38, 38R, & 45 may see delays due to residual traffic on nearby streets.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Fire officials added that overhead power lines are down in the area. PG&E is also at the scene.