School bus pulled from Niles animal rescue center

October 2, 2013 5:00:41 PM PDT
A school bus was pulled from the wreckage after it crashed into the front of an animal rescue center in the 7100-block of West Touhy in north suburban Niles Wednesday afternoon.

Wright Way rescue Crash Pictures

It was 12:50 p.m. when the school bus was headed eastbound and veered into the building. There were two people on the bus at the time, the 62-year-old driver and another woman. The driver apparently told police she lost control of the vehicle. The driver usually transports special needs students. No children were aboard the bus at the time of the crash.

An investigation is ongoing, but the bus driver has been cited for failure to reduce speed and is being given standard alcohol and drug testing.

The staff and animals of Wright-Way Pet Rescue joined other onlookers as engineers figured out the best way to secure the structure after a bus ran into the front of the building.

"At this point, we don't know if the building is savable, so we don't have anywhere to go if it's not savable," said Christy Anderson, Wright-Way Rescue.

The first order of business was removing the 65-foot tower anchored to the roof. Authorities were concerned it could topple over onto power lines. Next, engineers will be figuring out whether the building can be salvaged.

Twelve employees and 25 animals were in the building at the time of the crash. Two women suffered minor injuries. Some animals that were reported to have escaped after the accident have been accounted for. The last to be found, Bobbin the cat, was found hiding under a crate.

A spokesperson for the shelter, Wright-Way Rescue, says the bus drove through to the back of the business, sending people and animals running.

"I heard this huge crash, and I ran out of the bathroom, and all I saw was this bus," said Kim Bergman, shelter worker.

As of Wednesday evening, the the staff and animals are not being allowed back in the building.

"We have a whole separate facility six hours south of here where animals at risk of euthanasia stay until they're ready for adoption. So, shutting down this facility basically means that all of those animals won't be able to come up to find homes," said Anderson.

The rescue shop places dozens of animals in homes each week, but now adoptions are on hold.


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