By Douglas Moser
---- — LAWRENCE — A woman was flown to a Boston hospital yesterday afternoon with life threatening injuries after being hit by a car that swerved to avoid a school bus and lost its brakes.
Laticia Torres, 41, of Jackson Street in Lawrence, was flown to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital immediately after she was hit by a red 1999 Pontiac Grand Am at the corner of Jackson and Avon streets at 4:12 p.m., police said.
“She was by herself and was unresponsive,” police Chief John Romero said. “She looked pretty serious.”
Patrolman Daniel Smart, who was dispatched to the crash, wrote in his report that EMTs on scene told him Torres had “life threatening injuries.”
She was listed in "fair condition" as of 7:30 a.m. today, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
According to the police report, an 18-year-old woman from Merrimac was driving south on Jackson Street with two friends, ages 18 and 22, both of Amesbury, when a yellow school bus going north on Jackson started to turn left onto Avon Street. The bus stopped in the intersection, and the woman swerved to miss it.
At the same time, she said, her brakes failed and the car crashed through a fire call box on the corner, hit Torres and flung her 15 to 20 feet, and crashed into a traffic signal pole on the other side of Avon Street. The car knocked over the pole and came to rest on top of the pole’s base.
The woman and her passengers were not injured in the crash.
Emergency medical personnel transported Torres to a helipad at Lawrence General Hospital, and she was transferred directly from the ambulance to a helicopter bound for Beth Israel.
The driver, passengers and several witnesses all told police the same story. The two passengers said they were on their way from Amesbury to an uncle’s home in Lawrence with food for Thanksgiving. They consoled each other on Avon Street near the car. Two front airbags deployed during the crash.
A woman who was stopped at a traffic signal on Avon Street facing east told police she saw the bus trying to make a left and backed up to let it in. She said the bus stopped, and then the Grand Am swerved around it.
Crash reconstruction personnel from the State Police arrived near 5 p.m. and found the brake pedal in the Grand Am gave no resistance when pressed. State Police will have the vehicle checked by a mechanic.
Jackson Street was closed for a time from Erving Avenue to Kendrick Street, and Avon Street was closed from Belmont Street to Albion Street while police investigated.
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