LAKEWOOD — A co-worker says a school bus driver involved in a crash on Thursday afternoon saved many lives by avoiding a wrong-way driver.

The bus carrying 13 students collided with a car at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Vermont Avenue in Lakewood on Thursday afternoon, according to The Lakewood Scoop. It's the fifth crash involving a school bus in Lakewood since September.

Pictures show the H.T. Bus Services bus having lost its rear driver’s side tire and heavy damage to the car.

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Bus involved in a school bus crash in Lakewood on Thursday 10/28 (The Lakewood Scoop)

A driver named Effi who answered the phone at H.T. Bus Services told New Jersey 101.5 that a parent of two children on the bus told him the driver took quick action to avoid the car coming straight at him.

"The car was coming head-on in the wrong lane. He was in the bus' lane. The bus swerved to avoid what would have been a head-on collision," Effi said. "Then he realized he was going to hit an electric pole so he went back onto the road and that's why the car hit the back of the bus."

Effi said the driver is a veteran driver he would call one of the company's safest.

Lakewood police Lt. Leroy Marshall told New Jersey 101.5 the driver was ticketed for making an illegal lane change.

Bus drivers not to blame in every crash

A bus carrying 15 students to a private Jewish girls school on Sept. 14 struck an unoccupied parked car after "racing and tailgating" another car for several blocks, according to the police report on the crash.

On Oct. 6, a 58-year-old driver from Eatontown suffered a medical episode behind the wheel and lost control of the bus. Video shows the bus crossing the front yard of a house on Glen Avenue, hitting two parked cars.

Two days later, a school bus struck several vehicles at the intersection of Clifton Avenue and 7th Street. One of the vehicles may have caused the crash by ignoring a stop sign, according to police.

A southbound 2020 Dodge Challenger swerved onto the path of a northbound school bus on Route 9 the night of October 21 after the Challenger was cut off by a 2019 Ford Expedition. The Expedition had been turning into the parking lot of a banquet hall, police said.

No one was injured in any of the crashes.

Car involved in a crash in Lakewood on Oct. 28 (The Lakewood Scoop)

Police Chief Gregory Meyer has said that he would review previous school bus crashes to see if they could have been avoided.

"We have been in touch with the bus companies and are working with them in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents that are happening. This is an ongoing effort with the companies and our traffic unit," Meyer previously said.

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