Residents steer bus clear from disaster
By Marie York
Two Riverdale residents are being hailed as heroes after they sprung into action Monday night and helped bring an out-of-control city bus barreling up Madison Avenue to a stop.
Arkady Krutkovich, Guy Praisler and 16 other passengers were on the BxM18 Riverdale-bound express bus just after 7 p.m., when the driver blacked out at the wheel. The bus began to swerve, passengers say, and the ride took a harrowing turn.
“Next thing I hear is women up front started to panic and started to scream,” Mr. Krutkovich, 43, said. “That’s when I dropped everything and ran up front.”
Mr. Praisler, 45, had already grabbed the steering wheel and was trying to get the bus under control when Mr. Krutkovich came. While the pair managed to avoid skipping the curb and driving on the sidewalk, the bus was still going too fast.
So, Mr. Krutkovich focused on waking the driver up. “I shook him a little bit. I gave him a little nudge,” he said. When the driver came to, he calmly told him to “hit the breaks, and he did that, like an instinct.”
The wild ride finally ended at Madison Avenue and East 85th Street.
According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, there were no reports of serious injuries. Six people were taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and they were all treated and released by morning, with the exception of the bus driver, who remained under observation.
Mr. Krutkovich, a husband and father of two, was too modest to call his actions heroic.
“For me, stuff happened too quickly. I didn’t even know what happened until we came to a stop,” he said.
Even afterward, Mr. Krutkovich helped FDNY rescuers locate a key that unlocked the bus’s wheelchair-accessible door, allowing the passengers to exit safely. The front of the bus, he said, was too badly smashed.
Mr. Krutkovich said what he did was “instinctual.”
“I think when I see something like that, it’s part self-preservation, part saving others,” he said.
The BxM18 bus line has limited service and runs back and forth from Riverdale to downtown Manhattan.
The MTA is investigating the matter.