1 dead, 27 INJURED in Horrific Brandeis University Bus Crash

On Saturday, November 19th, 2022, at approximately 22:33 hours, the Waltham Fire Department began receiving numerous calls regarding a serious motor vehicle accident involving a bus contracted to transport Brandeis University students that struck a tree at 800 South Street.

On the initial response, Waltham Engine 4, Rescue 1, Medic 2 and Medic 3 along with Waltham Police and Brandeis Police were quickly dispatched. Prior to their arrival, companies in route were updated by Waltham Fire Alarm that there were numerous victims on scene that were reportedly unresponsive. 3 additional ambulances were immediately dispatched from Armstrong Ambulance as well as Waltham C2 and Squad 5. 

Upon arrival, Waltham Engine 4 reported there was a bus into a tree with heavy damage and there were numerous patients. Taking initial command, Engine 4 declared a MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) and also advised that CPR was in progress on multiple patients. While still in route, C2 requested the box to be struck adding Waltham Engine 1 & Ladder 2 to the response.

Upon arrival, C2 assumed command and through further size up determined that there were 12 ambulatory patients already out of the bus, 7 ambulatory patients in the process of being evacuated by firefighters and there were 2 patients still in the bus with agonal breathing. Due to the severity of the incident and number of critical patients, every available ambulance in the area was requested to respond and a 2nd alarm was struck on the box to bring additional manpower to the scene, upgrading the MCI to a Level 2.

Waltham C1 arrived on scene and assumed command, shifting C2 to Operations. With numerous ambulances responding to the scene from various communities, an ambulance staging area was established at the intersection of Charles River Rd. & South St. by Waltham C3 in order to ensure accountability and smooth accessibility to the scene.

Requesting orders upon their arrival, Waltham Ladder 2 was tasked with trying to get the power shut off to the bus. It was found that the bus was propane powered and had issues being shut off after the crash. Brandeis University contacted the bus company to try and get a representative to respond and National Grid was also requested to the scene.

As patients began being treated and transported, command requested that CMED (Central Medical Emergency Direction) be contacted to establish a logistic plan for patient transports so the receiving hospitals would not be overwhelmed with numerous patients.

Because of the escalated number of patients and the severity of the incident, numerous communities provided mutual aid. Between crews from Waltham, Newton, Needham, Lexington, Weston, Cambridge, Watertown, Arlington, Belmont, Wellesley, Armstrong Ambulance, ProEMS and the Waltham Auxiliary Fire Department approximately 20 ambulances responded directly to the scene and Waltham fire houses were able to be staffed to cover the city.

As Waltham Firefighters worked to stabilized the bus and treat patients, Waltham Police, with the help of the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Section (CARS) worked to secure the scene and begin to investigate what may have caused the accident. 

The bus, which is owned by Joseph’s Transportation Inc of Medford, MA, was transporting 27 Brandeis University students from a hockey game at Northeastern University at the time of the accident.

Tragically one student died on scene. 26 students were injured along with the driver of the bus with vast degrees of injuries and all were transported to a various hospitals. At this time, Waltham Police have identified the student that was killed as Vanessa Mark, an undergraduate student at the university.

In a statement from Brandeis University President Ron Liebowitz, he stated “While Vanessa was currently on leave, she was living in Waltham and she was an active and cherished member of the Brandeis community.”

Classes at Brandeis have been cancelled Monday & Tuesday leading into the Thanksgiving break to give students, friends and family additional time to mourn the loss of Vanessa. For students who are staying on campus over the holiday, Brandeis University is creating additional opportunities for students to gather and support one another in this difficult time.

At this time, the cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Waltham Police, Massachusetts State Police, along with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Currently no charges have been filed and the identities of the injured patients have not been released due for privacy.