Chicago, IL City Bus And Auto Crash, Aug 1985


Chicago (AP) - Rescue workers used a crane to lift a city bus from a crushed car in which seven young people on their way to a Bruce Springsteen rock concert were killed.
Sixty bus passengers were injured in yesterday afternoon's crash, but many were treated at the scene by medical teams and released, according to Jim Morrison, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman.
An electric saw was used to cut away the road of the auto before the bodies of the victims, all in their teens or early 20s, could be recovered. A cooler containing chicken and soft drinks was found in the rear of the car, apparently for a picnic before the concert.
"They were thrilled to get the tickets," said Sue Trizna, a sister of BETTE CIPOLLE, 21, of Joliet, one of those killed in the accident about a mile from Soldier Field, site of the concert.
Mrs. Trizna said two of her own teenage children later attended the concert, unaware of the deaths.
"It feels like it'll be 100 years before I see them again," she said last night.
The rock singer made no mention of a bus-auto collision during his concert but urged the crowd twice to "drive safely ... and have a safe summer."
The accident occurred about 1:30 p.m. as about 17,000 persons lined up outside the field waiting to get in for the concert, scheduled 6 hours later.
The crash tied up concert traffic for several miles. But John O'Toole, a concert security officer, said those in line were unaware of the accident.
The driver of the Chicago Transit Authority bus, David Johnson, 47, of suburban University Park, was charged with reckless homicide, a felony, and two misdemeanors, driving too fast for conditions and improper lane usage, said Terry Levin, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Johnson suffered minor back injuries and was listed in fair condition in the Cardiac Care Unit of Mercy Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Julie O'Heir.
Although several bus passengers said the car swerved in front of the bus, Levin said
"we have witnesses that say the bus driver was at fault and the car driver was doing nothing illegal, but was making a proper left-hand turn."
A passenger on the bus, Hortense Brice, who was sitting near the driver, said she noticed him trying to avoid a car.
"He braked and tried to stop and the next thing I knew we were on the grass and heard a crunch," she said. "Then the bus stopped."
"The car cut in front of the bus," said Michael Kegle, another passenger. "It was trying to get off at an exit and it cut the bus off."
The crash equals the death toll in a five-car pileup 11 months ago that police said was then apparently the worst accident in the city's history.
Nine area hospitals reported treating 25 persons injured in yesterday's accident, none seriously.
In addition to MISS CIPELLE, the victims were her boyfriend, DANIEL DOW, 21, and his sister, KIMBERLY, 16, of Shorewood, DEAN LABARBERA, 16, of Joliet; KRISTIN BEHRENS, 15, of Joliet; JENNIFER FREDRICKSON, 16, of Shorewood, and ROSANN SULA, 20, of Joliet, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
"The parents are standing up better than I would," said police Sgt. William Diaz, who was at the morgue with family members.

Pittsburgh Press Pennsylvania 1985-08-10