Bus breaks down, tennis team stranded on Interstate 95


“I turned around and there was a bunch of smoke everywhere. I thought it was someone else’s car,” junior Alexa Martinez said. But it wasn’t a car, it was the bus transporting the women’s varsity tennis team back to JC after their match against Mount de Sales on Sept. 17.

“The bus driver noticed the smoke first,” varsity tennis head coach George Panian said. According to Panian, the driver was forced to pull over to the side of the road just outside of the city due to the bad smell and the smoke engulfing the bus.

“It was a total surprise, for me at least. I was working on chemistry homework until someone shouted that the bus was on fire. It wasn’t until we got outside that we learned it was an exhaust problem,” junior Ianna Pirozzi said.

“The girls were good, they got off the bus safely and quickly,” Panian said. After evacuating the bus, the team was forced to sit on the side of Interstate 95 while they waited for the state police and a second bus to take them home.

“We just plopped ourselves inside the highway barriers,” Pirozzi said. The state police arrived within five minutes, yet everything was under control.

“Everyone was just chilling, they seemed calmed,” Martinez said.

The girls didn’t have to wait too long. Within a half hour, The Catholic High School’s soccer team came to their rescue.

“[The] Catholic High School saved us! [They] rescued us!” junior Yena Kim said.

“[The] bus was taking [The] Catholic High’s [women’s] soccer team back from a game and it stopped and picked us up. The bus dropped off the soccer team and then brought us back to JC,” said Panian.

Despite losing the match 2-3, it was a memorable night. “It’s something we’ll all talk about and remember,” Martinez said.

“The next time I go to an away match, I’ll be like, ‘Hope the bus doesn’t break down this time,’” junior Hailey Ishak said.

Kelly Foulk is a News Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.