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2 crashes minutes apart injure 40 in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Forty people were injured and more than half of them hospitalized in two separate San Francisco transit collisions just minutes apart — a bus and a dump truck crashed then a light-rail train and a tractor-trailer collided across town. The San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and the dump truck collided at about 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Japantown neighborhood, leaving the bus with a smashed windshield. Twenty people were examined at the scene and a dozen of them went to hospitals, including one with serious injuries, fire spokeswoman Jennifer Balestrieri said. Five had moderate injuries and six minor injuries. All of the injured were bus passengers, Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose said. The two drivers weren't hurt. Less than 10 minutes later, a Muni light-rail train collided with a tractor-trailer in the Bayview neighborhood. The train was derailed but its two cars remained upright. Television reports showed the truck cab and trailer sitting at right angles, with the train squeezed between and its front pushed up against the cab. Nine people were taken to hospitals with minor and moderate injuries, and 11 others were examined but declined to be taken to a hospital, authorities said. Investigators told the San Francisco Chronicle that the big rig made an illegal left turn. However, the driver was not immediately cited, Officer Albie Esparza said. Light-rail passenger Robert Williams said he suffered neck and shoulder pain. Williams told the Chronicle that the train was full of passengers and had been slowing down as it pulled into a stop. "The next thing you know, I heard a loud screech and the train came to a sudden stop," Williams said. "It was like an earthquake. Lots of people fell down." Both accidents were under investigation. A San Francisco light-rail train crashed into another city light-rail train in July 2009, injuring 46 passengers and the operators of both vehicles. Federal investigators concluded that the driver of one of the trains had lost consciousness. Also Friday, a light-rail train collided with a van in Seattle, injuring five people. A 6-year-old boy was taken to a children's hospital in stable condition while the others went to a hospital with minor injuries, KOMO reported.

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