A RideOn bus plowed into a Silver Spring house midmorning Monday, causing extensive damage to the front of the house and sending five people -- including the driver -- to the hospital with minor injuries.
Montgomery County police said they're looking into the cause of the crash, which occured just before 11 a.m. near the intersection of Stateside Drive and Avenel Road. The bus was carrying 10 to 15 passengers.
Femi Olamide, 54, who has lived in the modest ranch house on Avenel Road with his wife and three children for 16 years, said he had just parked his car near the house after a supermarket trip when he saw the bright blue bus careen past him.
"I said [to myself], 'Why doesn't he stop?' " Olamide told The Washington Examiner. Then the bus lurched across his lawn and up onto his front porch, smashing through the front door and most of the home's front wall.
Olamide said his two sons, age 16 and 22, were inside the house at the time of the crash. Kemi Olamide, his wife, said the bus collapsed the bedroom wall of her 18-year-old daughter, who almost certainly would have been hurt if she hadn't left the house earlier that morning.
Femi Olamide said the bus driver told him the vehicle's brakes had failed just before the crash. But Bill Griffiths, division chief of Montgomery County's fleet management services, called a brake failure unlikely.
"No, it's a relatively new bus," he said. The 2011 Gillig Low Floor hybrid and had fewer than 36,000 miles on it, he said. It last went in for preventive maintenance on July 31.
Still, Griffiths said it's too early to know the exact cause of the crash. The Maryland Department of Transportation's highway patrol investigators will be in charge of determining what happened.
The driver was slated to be tested for drugs and alcohol, then placed on paid leave while awaiting results, which is standard after all crashes, said county spokeswoman Esther Bowring. A Montgomery County police spokeswoman would say the driver was a man, but would give no further information about him.
Efforts to remove the bus stretched into the afternoon, with neighbors camping out on adjacent lawns to watch and the Olamides cheering as a tow truck slowly dragged the crumpled bus out of the house and onto the street. The bus also damaged Femi Olamide's taxi, which was sitting in the driveway when the bus hit the house.
Femi Olamide said his family will likely stay in a hotel for the time being, as the house was declared unsafe to enter Monday. Still, his wife said the family is simply relieved no one was injured.
"I'm just so grateful to God," Kemi Olamide said.
Examiner staff writer Kytja Weir contributed to this report.