Rick Haagenson and Jeff Greene of Austin Conruction Company General Contractors talking to Bill Galloway, owner of Altadena Hardware Company about repairs
Rick Haagenson and Jeff Greene of Austin Conruction Company General Contractors talking to Bill Galloway, owner of Altadena Hardware Company about repairs to the building caused by the bus crash. A Metro bus that was not in service at the time crashed into Altadena Hardware Company store at 849 E. Mariposa Street at 6:00 a.m. in Altadena Thursday February 19, 2009. There were no passengers on the bus and the driver of the bus was not injured. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Walt Mancini)

ALTADENA - An MTA bus crashed through the display window of a hardware store just before 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, scattering glass on the floor and leaving a bizarre scene for passers-by.

The driver of the Line 180 bus was headed south on El Molino Avenue, making a left turn onto Mariposa Street when the incident occurred, said MTA spokeswoman Helen Ortiz Gilstrap.

She was the sole person on the bus, which had not yet gone into service for the day, and sustained a minor cut to her elbow, Gilstrap said.

No one else was injured.

The driver, a 55-year-old Azusa woman, claimed that her seatbelt did not tighten while she was making the turn, causing her to fall out of the driver's seat, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Workman said.

When she fell, her foot may have pressed the gas pedal, causing the bus to veer into the store, he said.

This is still under investigation.

"It's just unreal. I was there this morning after I got a call from one of the tenants," said Bill Galloway, who owns the property. "It was interesting since this is the second time this has happened."

Galloway said another bus crashed through the old building about five years ago.

MTA officials worked through the morning to assess the situation and get the bus out from where it was lodged.

Inspectors had to take a close look at the "structural integrity" of the building before the bus was removed, to assure that it would not collapse, Workman said.

For drivers and pedestrians, the sight of the tail-end of a large bus protruding from under the green awning local hardware was a bit odd.


PHOTO GALLERY

Metro bus crash

"I thought maybe they were making a movie," Altadena resident Joe Sierra said after walking by a cluster of police cars and fire trucks.

Though there was quite a bit of damage to the store, Galloway was happy that no one was working at the time.

"We were fortunate from that standpoint," he said.

robert.hong@sgvn.com

(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586