A passenger on a Metro Transit bus died and at least one other bus rider was injured Friday night when a car sped through a stop sign, went airborne and sliced through the bus in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood.

In the wake of the dramatic crash, authorities with more than 25 years of experience responding to transit emergencies said they had never seen anything like it.

“It shook all of us to the core,” said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.

Emergency responders were called to the intersection of Dale Street N. and Charles Avenue just after 7:30 p.m. on a report that a vehicle had slammed into a Route 64 bus and was on fire.

St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said a 26-year-old man driving a white sedan ran a stop sign after fleeing the scene of a minor accident, hit a median, went airborne and slammed into the bus, slicing through it.

He called the crash “horrific and surreal.”

Witnesses said the car was speeding at up to 70 miles per hour when it hit the northbound bus, which was carrying six to eight people, according to police. A Metro Transit driver with 39 years of experience was behind the wheel when it was struck.

A 48-year-old man riding the bus was ejected when the vehicle collided with it, police said. He died at the scene.

Another bus passenger, a 19-year-old man, was taken to Regions Hospital with critical injuries. “He has just been into surgery and we are not sure if he will make it,” Linders said late Friday.

The car’s driver was extricated from the car and hospitalized in critical condition.

Police officers shut down nearby Sherburne Avenue and Kent Street during the rescue operation and investigation.

 

Staff writers Beatrice Dupuy and Pamela Miller contributed to this report.