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Sunday, November 28, 2021

UF’s Mobile Outreach Clinic bus lost power driving uphill. Then it crashed into a ditch

<p dir="ltr"><span>The Mobile Outreach Clinic Bus sits in a ditch about 50 yards from the McKnight Brain Institute. Gainesville Fire and Rescue said the brakes for the bus went out as it was going up Newell Drive. The driver was the only person on the bus and there were no reported injuries.</span></p>

The Mobile Outreach Clinic Bus sits in a ditch about 50 yards from the McKnight Brain Institute. Gainesville Fire and Rescue said the brakes for the bus went out as it was going up Newell Drive. The driver was the only person on the bus and there were no reported injuries.

UF’s Mobile Outreach Clinic bus crashed into a ditch on Newell Drive at 3 p.m. Monday.

The bus was driving up a steep hill by the McKnight Brain Institute when it lost power and the brakes stopped working, said Sherice Stewart, clinic operations manager. It rolled backward into a pit about 50 yards away from the building. The bus was only occupied by its driver, Edwin Velez, and nobody was injured, Stewart said. 

Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Don Campbell said the hazardous materials team was called to the scene at about 3:15 p.m., where they patched a diesel leak that came from the bus engine as a result of the crash. 

Police officers on scene declined to comment, and the University Police Department’s public information officer could not be reached before publication. 

Velez declined to comment, but Stewart said he honked when he realized the bus was going backward and aimed the vehicle away from the street into the ditch so it wouldn’t hit any cars or pedestrians. 

“That was some superhuman strength to be able to do that,” Stewart said. “You can always replace a thing. We can't replace life.”

The Mobile Outreach Clinic bus, which is outfitted with two medical exam rooms and one laboratory, provides healthcare to uninsured residents in Alachua County. Students can volunteer to work on the bus for hands-on medical training, Stewart said. 

The bus was serviced last Friday, and the cause of the power outage is unclear, she added. It will undergo a maintenance inspection to figure out what went wrong. 

Check back with The Alligator for updates.

The Mobile Outreach Clinic Bus sits in a ditch about 50 yards from the McKnight Brain Institute. Gainesville Fire and Rescue said the brakes for the bus went out as it was going up Newell Drive. The driver was the only person on the bus and there were no reported injuries.

People stand next to the UF Health Mobile Outreach Clinic as it sits in a ditch on the side of Newell Drive. Gainesville Fire and Rescue said the brakes for the bus stopped working as it was going up the hill and the bus driver maneuvered it backward down the hill and into a ditch to avoid hitting other people or vehicles.

UFPD Officer Roberts watches as tow workers pull a UF Mobile Outreach Clinic bus from a ditch on the side of Newell Drive.

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