Daily News, February 25, 2011, "Pileup in the Tunnel"


A motorcyclist was in critical condition yesterday after getting sandwiched between two buses in a Lincoln Tunnel smashup that snarled the morning commute, authorities said.

A total of 52 bus passengers also were injured in the chain-reaction wreck in the Manhattan bound lanes of the tunnel's center tube shortly before 7 :30 a.m.

The motorcyclist was riding between two buses when traffic suddenly stopped, an NYPD source said.

The first bus stopped. The second did not. It slammed into the motorcyclist, pinning him against the first bus, the source said. A third bus then plowed into the pileup.

The motorcyclist, who was not identified, wound up underneath the second bus. A passenger onthat bus, Janet Rivera, 44, of Carteret, N.J.,made a frantic call to her husband after suffering whiplash.

"I felt a humongous impact from the back. It elevated the bus," Rivera said. "The motorcycle went under our bus. When they tried to move him, you could definitely hear him screaming."

The motorcyclist was being treated at Bellevue Hospital. Most of the 52 hurt passengers suffered minor injuries, but 14 of them were taken by ambulance to Roosevelt Hospital, FDNY officials said.

"I hit my head on the window and it shattered," said bus passenger Perri Grinberg, 33, of Marlboro, N.J. "There were a lot of head injuries - broken noses and jaws. I definitely feel like one of the lucky ones."

Two of the four Manhattan bound lanes were closed until about 1:30 p.m. Some motorists were stranded all morning.