Railroad crossing arm impales special needs school bus

LOS ANGELES -- A malfunctioning railroad crossing arm crashed through passenger windows on both sides of a school bus with children on board in South Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Fire officials said fortunately, no one was injured.

According to the California Highway Patrol, there were eight special needs children on board the bus. Luckily, the children were not sitting in the area where the crossing arm pierced the bus, the CHP said.

The students were heading to Hooper Elementary School and Lizarraga Elementary School. Another bus was dispatched to transport the children, officials said.

The incident occurred along Union Pacific tracks near 55th Street and Long Beach Avenue around 7:30 a.m. Authorities said the bus was crossing the tracks to make a left turn when the crossing arm came down and somehow went through the windows of the bus.

"At the intersection on the other side, there is a stop sign. So he stopped at the stop sign, proceeded across the tracks, and that's when the lights start to go off," said CJHP Officer Dion Conley.

Firefighters had to use a rotary saw to strategically cut and remove the crossing arm from the bus, officials said.

The CHP is investigating the incident.

"We're going to investigate the way the arm is situation, making sure it was operating properly, and the decision the driver made regarding the position of the arm when he was actually making his turn," Conley said.

Crews were in the process of installing and testing a new crossing arm to replace the broken one.
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