Out-of-Control Bus Hits 6 Cars on Oakton Street Near Emerson School

A medical condition may have caused a driver to lose control of an empty school bus around 2:30 p.m., hitting six vehicles in oncoming traffic. Police sealed off Oakton Street, between Greenwood and Oriole Avenues.


Park Ridge police identified the school bus driver as Elaine C. Delaney, 77, of Wheeling and said she was suffering from a medical condition which caused her to lose control of the bus.

In a statement, Park Ridge Police Commander Lou Jogmen said police issued her several traffic citations including driving in the wrong lane, disobeying a traffic control signal and driving too fast for conditions.

Calls to Septran Inc., which owns the bus she was driving, have not yet been returned.

Police said those injured in the crashes were taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Resurrection Hospital and Skokie Hospital. 

The injuries are all non-life-threatening and include a broken arm and cracked sternum. 


An out-of-control school bus, empty except for the driver, careened down Oakton Street and hit about six other vehicles Tuesday, just before 2:30 p.m.

The bus traveled more than a mile westbound from about Milwaukee Avenue to Greenwood Avenue through Niles and Park Ridge, according to Park Ridge Police Commander Lou Jogmen. It traveled in the oncoming traffic lanes. 

The driver may have been suffering from a medical condition, he said. Minor injuries were reported.

Park Ridge police got a call at 2:29 p.m. indicating the bus had struck a vehicle at Oakton Street at Oriole. As they were responding, reports of additional collisions came in. The bus traveled right past Emerson Middle School, on Oakton between Prospect and Cumberland, more than half an hour before the 3 p.m. dismissal time. 

The bus hit a compact black sedan which was facing east on Oakton and trying to make a left turn onto Prospect. The impact caused the car to fly at least 30 feet and strike the garage of a home at the southwest corner of Prospect and Oakton, said Kathy Hirsch, a teacher's assistant at Jefferson School, one block to the north. Hirsch said it was her mother's home and that no one in the home was injured.

The impact totaled the front end of the car, knocked out bricks on the garage and bent in the garage door. The driver walked into the Yogli Mogli frozen yogurt shop across the street afterward to dry off from the rain, said Yogli Mogli manager Liad Shlomo.

Jogmen said the bus continued moving westbound in the oncoming (eastbound) traffic lanes, and hit a couple of cars near Meacham and another car at Cumberland, a semi-arterial where Jefferson School is located. As it approached Greenwood Avenue, a four-lane street, it plunged into a vehicle that was southbound on Greenwood trying to turn left onto Oakton. That impact finally stopped the bus.

Jogmen estimated there were six collisions in all, with only minor injuries, including to the driver. 

As to the cause of the accident, "At this point, we're thinking a medical condition of the bus driver," he said.

He said the school bus she was driving said "Septran" on the side, but did not know from which school district it originated.

Shlomo, the Yogli Mogli shop manager, said the driver of the totalled vehicle seemed fine as he walked into the shop after the bus hit his vehicle. 

"I had a customer that offered to take him to the hospital, but the police came and he went out to talk to them and I haven't seen him since," Shlomo said. "He said a bus hit him head on and kept on going."

He also said a customer told him that when the bus driver hit the last car, which stopped her bus, the police pulled her out and she had no idea what had happened.


Police and fire officials have sealed off Oakton Street, between Greenwood and Oriole avenues, following a serious traffic accident today around 3 p.m.

The accident occurred near Emerson Middle School, 8101 N. Cumberland Ave., and as a result, school busses will be delayed for the North Side of Park Ridge. The accident happened over several blocks, from east to westbound on Oakton Street.

Kathy Hirsch, a teacher's assistant at Jefferson School, said a bus hit a car so hard that the impact shot it down the street and into a garage (see image).

An officer on the scene said there were five separate accidents. It is unclear if the crash involved any school buses at this time.

If new details come in, Patch will update.


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Arne Asada January 30, 2013 at 06:05 PM
77 years old!
Rock Lobster February 02, 2013 at 12:17 AM
One driver who was hit broke her left leg in three places, her right ankle is bruised, two broken ribs and a small laceration on her liver. She has a second surgery on Saturday to fix her leg. I would call that seriously injured.
Pete February 02, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Isnt it funny that our state an federal government stress to us everyday that our children are our future an we need to keep them healthy an safe. But then they turn around an have no restrictions on who can drive a bus which houses hundreds of chrilden a day. An then turn around an make cheap food saturated with steroids an chemicals. Who are these people in charge of telling us what we need to do to keep our kids safe an then turn around an put us in the very oppisite situation they are preaching to us
Pete February 02, 2013 at 11:46 PM
These bus drivers are paid close to minum wage. An dont have a professional job or career for a reason. An our school district an state officials look the other way when hiring because they would rather be crooks an pocket our tax money than put it to good use an pay respectable wages to people who cart what our state tells us as prscious cargo ......
Amanda February 13, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Pete, research your "facts" before you "preach"


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