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School Bus Crash In O'Neill Tunnel Snarls Traffic From Boston To Wilmington

BOSTON (CBS) – A crash involving a school bus and a Lexus backed up traffic for miles during rush hour on Interstate 93 in Boston.

The school bus, which had no children on board, crashed just after 6 a.m. inside the O'Neill Tunnel, on the southbound side near Exit 20.

The bus came to a stop in a position that blocked all lanes inside the tunnel.

school bus crash O'Neill tunnel
The school bus crashed and then blocked all lanes of traffic in the tunnel. (Image credit: MassDOT)

Neither driver was injured in the crash, which backed traffic up all the way to Wilmington.

State Police said the driver of the Lexus, 52-year-old Thomas Wells of Saugus, will be cited for the crash. Exact charges are not yet known.

"It was just an accident," Wells told WBZ Thursday afternoon. "Nobody got hurt -- it all happened so fast."

Wells told other media outlets he fell asleep. But when WBZ asked him whether he was awake, he said "Of course I was. I was on my way to work like I do every day."

Wells has a lengthy driving record. Since 1985, he's had eight speeding violations, failed to stop for officers four times and has had two accidents.

Traffic I-93 School Bus Crash
The crash backed traffic up all the way to Wilmington. (WBZ-TV)

The bus driver, 60-year-old Jean Joseph Saintine from Randolph, says he applied the brake but was worried the bus would flip over.

"I'm going straight," Saintine says. "I was going straight and then I heard a noise. I don't know what happened."

In his 15 years as a school bus driver, this accident was a first for Saintine. He says, there's only one thing that matters.

"Thank God that no kids was on the bus," he says.

By about 7 a.m. all lanes were reopened, though residual backup was heavy.

At the time of the crash, MassDOT encouraged drivers to instead take the MBTA or seek other routes.

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