June 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Bus crash being investigated after driver dies on Detroit's east side

Police and Detroit Department of Transportation officials say they are investigating whether a driver had a medical emergency when his bus crashed into a building on the city's far east side. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Detroit — A Detroit Department of Transportation bus driver died and a passenger was injured early Tuesday morning when a bus crashed into storefronts on the city’s east side.

The crash occurred at 6:35 a.m. near Warren Avenue and Haverhill, according to Detroit police.

Mayor’s office spokesman John Roach says Gregory Cotton, 49, was driving the eastbound bus along East Warren Avenue when it “crossed the center line to the other side of the road and crashed into a building.”

The injured passenger was in stable condition at St. John Hospital.

Roach says the accident is under investigation and authorities will look into whether Cotton had a medical emergency. He says Cotton had worked for the Detroit Department of Transportation for 13 years.

The driver’s side of the bus was wedged against the storefronts, which included a dry cleaning business that was closed with security grates down at the time of the crash.

“This is a tragedy,” said DDOT Director Dan Dirks, tearing up. “We have lost one of our own. It’s a sad day for DDOT and the union.”

According to Fred A. Westbrook Jr., president of Local 26 of the AFL-CIO, some DDOT buses are equipped with video camera security systems, but it was not immediately clear if there was one on the wrecked bus.

“We don’t know what happened,” said Westbrook. “We don’t know if he had any health problems, like heart problems or being a diabetic. It was an accident.”

After the crash, a crowd of gawkers stood behind police lines on Warren just a couple of hundred feet from where the bus stood against the steel security doors of the Sanders Dry Cleaning store.

There were five passengers on the bus when the crash occurred, Detroit Police spokesman Adam Madera said.

Associated Press contributed.

The crash occurred just after 7 a.m. near Warren Avenue and Haverhill ... (David Coates / The Detroit News)