Watch out. Low bridge.

When three news helicopters start circling over your neighborhood, it’s never good news.

The Washington Park arboretum has an aging pedestrian overpass crossing Lake Washington Boulevard East. It was built when the arboretum was still new in the 1930s. It is small, and moss-covered, and very, very low.

When you approach the bridge on Lake Washington Boulevard, there are signs and warnings in both directions about the low clearance. There are sensors that detect overheight vehicles; a lighted sign starts flashing at you if you drive up to the bridge in a vehicle that’s too tall for the bridge. There are two turn-out areas, one on each side of the bridge, designed to allow drivers of over-tall trucks and buses to turn around.

KOMO TV is reporting that some bus driver ignored it all and plowed directly into the bridge at full speed. “Video from Air 4 showed the top of the bus nearly peeled off and debris strewn around the ground,” they noted.

Preliminary reports are that eight people were injured, none seriously.

Judging from the pictures, that was a full-height touring bus, the kind the charter bus companies use. You cannot take one of those on that stretch of Lake Washington Boulevard, and there are a hell of a lot of warnings telling you so. That poor bus driver–who is, we hope, OK, along with the passengers–is going to have some explaining to do.

ETA: KOMO TV now says that most of the bus passengers were students at Garfield High School.

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