An Orange County teen is recovering Monday after a harrowing ordeal on the way to prom this weekend.
Corona Del Mar High School student Charlotte Boyse, 17, spent her prom night in a hospital bed after falling from a charter bus taking more than 50 teens to the dance in Mission Viejo Saturday.
The private bus, which the California Highway Patrol believes is owned by Leon's Party Bus company in Downey, was traveling southbound on S-R 73 just north of Newport Coast Drive at approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday when Boyse leaned onto a window, which unexpectedly opened up.
"My friend just fell out of the bus window!" a friend told a witness.
Boyse fell onto the 73 Freeway, and was able to crawl to the center divider while the bus pulled over. She was taken to Mission Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.
Boyse was dancing with her friends on the bus before she fell out of the window, according to her mother. She managed to crawl to the center divider to safety where several of the fifty-five other students on board ran to help her.
"It's a miracle," she said of her daughter.
The bus was traveling at an incline traveling about 25 mph at the time of the fall, and traffic was also light - both factors that might have helped save Boyse's life according to the CHP.
One of the first witnesses to stop was Colleen Krueger of Huntington Beach, who was driving to a friend's birthday party when she said she couldn't believe what she saw.
"A whole bunch of kids started running across the freeway in their prom dresses and suits," said Krueger. "I saw this girl start crawling towards the center divider."
Investigators said none of the teens on board the bus were drinking alcohol or under the influence of any other drugs. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.
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NBC4 left several messages with Leon's Party Bus company, which the CHP believes to be the owner of the 1997 bus, but calls had not been returned.
The bus had couch-like seats facing each other and did not have seat belts according to a CHP spokesman.
Boyse's mother told us the driver of the bus did not explain safety instructions to the passengers before the trip.
"They were very upset at the bus driver," said Krueger. "They had told the bus driver to stop and apparently she didn't believe them."
CHP said the bus company is cooperating with the investigation.
Boyse tweeted "There is an angel looking over me. Thankful to be alive."