Riders hurt in NICE bus crash on Hempstead Tpke.

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A Mercedes rear-ended a Nassau County NICE bus in Garden City South Friday, sending some passengers with minor injuries to the hospital and closing off Hempstead Turnpike for two hours, Nassau rescue officials said.

Eight riders complaining of pain were taken to local hospitals and six were treated at the scene, police said. Nassau fire officials described the medical attention as precautionary.

The N6 bus, a local one that travels between Hempstead and Jamaica, was carrying 64 passengers heading eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike when it was hit about 12:45 p.m., said NICE spokesman Andy Kraus.

"It was apparently approaching the bus stop at Nassau Road along Hempstead Turnpike and at that time a car rear ended the bus," Kraus said.

Police said both drivers were not injured and no charges were filed.

Roads reopened shortly before 2:30 p.m., police said.

Kraus said the bus was scratched but otherwise had little damage. The back of the bus has a stronger structure because it holds the engine, he said.

"What I was told was the bus could have been driven away," Kraus said. "NICE, as required, did contact the state Department of Transportation, so they left everything where it was so the DOT could do its investigation."

Some riders transferred to the next N6 bus, which comes about every five minutes, Kraus said.

Fifth Precinct officers were still at the scene at 5 p.m. investigating the cause of the crash, police said.

State transportation department spokeswoman Jennifer Post said the agency's investigators respond as a matter of routine to make safety and mechanical checks on the bus. When the bus is repaired and ready to go back in service, she said, the bus will be reinspected.

With John Valenti

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