The collision happened at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 14th Street around 5:30 a.m.
The force of the impact sent both the tandem MTA M14 bus and truck crashing through the scaffolding and into the side of a building. Several parked cars were hit as well.
The bus driver, 49-year-old William Pena, an 18-year MTA veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"We're grieving, you know, it just takes time, it's just begun," said Alex Pena, the victim's brother.
"This is a great loss to society and the great union of Local 100 and the rest of his coworkers," said Richard Davis, a union representative.
"William was a great person, can't say no more about him, great person," Alex Pena said.
The crash left his coworkers shaken.
"It's like a roll of the dice, you never know when you're going to go home," said Steven Bell, an MTA bus driver.
Four other people were hurt. They include the only two passengers on the bus, the driver of the truck and a coffee vendor on the street. None of the injuries was considered life threatening.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the 23-year-old driver of the truck had just stolen the "18 Rabbits Granola" delivery vehicle, apparently while the owner was making a delivery at a nearby bodega and left the keys inside. Before hitting the bus, the suspect allegedly struck a taxi cab, a truck and a scooter that one man used as his car.
The suspect was also seen banging on some doors near the Dream Hotel before the alleged truck theft took place.
"He looked out of breath. He was sweating around the neck," said Victor Vega.
The 23-year-old was taken into police custody and is in the hospital.
Scaffolding collapsed down onto the bus, and inspectors from the Department of Buildings were to determine if the building suffered any structural damage.