Four Yale students were rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital and several others were taken to the Hospital of Saint Raphael Nov. 22 after two buses carrying Yale Glee Club members crashed en route to the Harvard-Yale game.
Members suffered concussions, split lips, and nosebleeds, and more serious injuries such as a gash on a chin and a fracture beneath the nose because of the crash, which happened on the on-ramp to I-91 at Trumbull Street early that afternoon.
“I was lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of pre-meds who knew what to do,” said Sadiq Abdulla ’05, who suffered the gash to the chin.
“I think our bus [which was behind the other Glee Club bus] skidded — it was rainy that day — because we had all looked up after he [the driver] initially slammed on the breaks. It was literally seconds before we crashed into the other bus,” said Glee Club member Aya Osuga ’04 in an e-mail. “We were all pretty much like, ‘uh — we’re not going to stop in time–‘ and then the entire windshield shattered and the whole bus jolted forward.”
Osuga is a photography editor for the Yale Daily News.
Members in the front bus said their bus slowed down at the end of the on-ramp to yield to oncoming traffic, after which they heard screeching breaks and were hit from behind by the other bus, denting the rear of the front bus.
Abdulla said the front bus slowed down at the end of the on-ramp to yield to oncoming traffic, after which he heard screeching breaks and braced himself as one Glee Club bus crashed into the rear of the other Glee Club bus, causing a dent in the rear of the front bus.
Around 5 a.m. that same day, another crash happened after a Peter Pan bus traveling from New York City to Boston veered off of I-91 north of Exit 15. Eighteen people were injured in the wreck.
“It was really creepy how, before we left, the bus driver was telling us about how earlier that morning, a Peter Pan bus had flipped over, injuring some people,” Osuga said. “He had just finished telling us to stow our stuff in the overhead cabins so they don’t go flying and hit anyone in case, well, an accident occurred.”
Abdulla said fire trucks, an ambulance, and representatives from local media arrived at the Glee Club crash site about 10 minutes after the wreck. The members waited at the crash site for about two hours while paramedics examined the injured passengers and made uninjured passengers sign releases stating they did not need medical attention.
After paramedics finished examining the passengers, another bus arrived at the crash site and took the remaining members to Hendrie Hall, where Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg spoke with the members and instructed them to call their parents, members said.
They resumed their trip around 3 p.m. and arrived in Cambridge, Mass., around 6 p.m. They quickly rehearsed and ate dinner before performing in their 8 p.m. show.
Less seriously injured members who were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital were picked up from the hospital and arrived at the show during intermission, Osuga said. Some of the injured members who were taken to the hospitals were later transported to Cambridge and arrived at the show shortly before intermission, Abdulla said. He said he was able to perform in the concert even with his injury.
Despite the hardships of that day, members said were impressed with how the club handled the situation.
“A lot of people were very shaken up, but it’s a very supportive group, and we were back on our feet and focused for our concert,” Osuga said. “I loved how the first thought that popped into everyone’s minds after the crash was not, ‘What happened?’ but, ‘Is everyone OK?'”