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Chunk of ice smashes through windshield of bus carrying Kansas City Royals
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, April 17, 2018 8:25AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:54PM EDT
Kansas City Royals’ catcher Drew Butera says a quick-thinking bus driver and teammate saved members of the baseball club from serious injury or worse after a large piece of ice went flying through the windshield of the team bus in Toronto early Monday morning.
The incident occurred on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway, near Royal York Road, at around 12:15 a.m.
Butera said the team, who had just got into town for the start of a three-game series against the Jays, was travelling under an overpass when ice came off of another vehicle and struck the windshield of the bus.
“We were the second bus following our coaches and media and staff bus,” Butera said. “I don’t know if it was the wind that knocked it off but a huge chunk of ice came off and smoked the front windshield and shattered it.”
He said many of the players were shocked at the loud “bang” and didn’t immediately realize what had happened.
“We didn’t know what the heck was going on until we looked up and saw glass everywhere,” said Butera, who was seated directly behind the driver.
He said relief pitcher Blaine Boyer jumped into action and went to see if the driver was OK.
“(He) kind of held the wheel a little bit while the driver took a deep breath and got his composure back,” Butera said. “Good thing he reacted quickly.”
Speaking to reporters at the Rogers Centre this afternoon, Boyer rejected any assertions that his behaviour was heroic.
He added that the bus driver, Fred Folkerts, was the real “hero.”
“We’ve got a lot of people saying I did something that was heroic, which is just ridiculous. Only thing I did was steady a wheel for two seconds so he could get his wits about himself,” Boyer said.
“I mean literally he had glass hanging out of his nose, his face, right under his eye. Fred was just awesome in that moment so if anybody is a hero it is Fred.”
Boyer said he gave the bus driver a hug this morning when he saw him.
“I don’t think every bus driver would have reacted the way that Fred did,” he said.
“If he could be our personal driver forever, I would love it.”
Folkerts also spoke to CP24 on Tuesday and said he has never been in a collision like that before.
“I’ve been driving for well in excess of 25 years and this is the very first time I have ever had something come through the window,” he said.
His primary concern, Folkerts said, was making sure the team was safe.
“As surprising as it was, I wasn’t scared. I was concerned about the wellbeing of the team,” he said. “I didn’t much think about myself.”
He said he was grateful to the team members, including Boyer, who helped keep him calm after the collision.
“I told a bunch of them that I was really thankful they were there,” he said. “I said, ‘You guys are my heroes.’”
There were about 25 members of the team on board the bus at the time of the incident and police said the bus driver was the only one who sustained any injuries.
Folkerts described his injuries as “superficial.”
“It looked worse that night than it does now,” he said.
The Blue Jays and the Royals will play their first game of the series this afternoon in a doubleheader at the Rogers Centre.
The teams were supposed to play Monday night but the game was postponed after chunks of ice started to fall from the CN Tower on to buildings below, including the Rogers Centre.
The Rogers Centre said some of the ice tore through the roof of the building and caused water to leak onto the field.
Crews worked to repair the damage to the building on Tuesday morning.
Areas around CN Tower and Rogers Centre were shut down on Monday but reopened Tuesday morning after a safety assessment was conducted.