Aaron Carpenter missed a job interview in New Haven Monday, but he got lucky nonetheless—by not getting seriously injured in the process.
Carpenter was one of 24 people who landed in the hospital after a cop cruiser collided with the CT Transit J bus they were riding on Temple Street just after 11 a.m. (Read a full story about the crash here.)
Carpenter (at right in photo right after the crash), who is 23 and teaches in an after-school program in Hamden, had an interview scheduled at a day-care center. He missed his intended bus. He hopped on the next J bus, running late.
As the bus headed toward the Green on Temple Street, it collided at the Elm Street intersection with a cruiser driven by an officer headed to a call at Union Station.
Carpenter heard a first bang. That was the collision. Then he heard a second bang; that time the bus, after hopping the curb onto the lower Green, smashed into a lamp post.
“I got kicked out of my seat,” Carpenter recalled later Monday as he prepared to leave the Yale-New Haven Hospital emergency room.
“I stood up and tried to get everybody off the bus. There was a guy in a wheelchair. There was a lady on the ground.”
“‘Let’s get off the bus and help people get out,’” Carpenter recalled saying at first. “I didn’t realized how bad it was until I saw the cop car.”
Carpenter himself hit his knee and chin in the crash. He had them X-rayed at Yale-New Haven; he said he felt fine. Fortunately, nobody was critically injured in the crash. The police officer involved, Victor Herrera, was reported to be the most seriously hurt. He, too, was released from the hospital Monday afternoon without serious injuries, according to police Chief Dean Esserman.