An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the casino tour bus involved in the March 12, 2011 fatal bus accident that killed 15 passengers was traveling at speeds of up to 78 m.p.h., more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. Investigators also determined that despite the bus driver’s claims to the contrary, there was no evidence that a tractor-trailer had come into contact with the bus, causing the driver to lose control. The tragic accident, in which the bus struck a road stanchion and split in 2, killed 15 passengers returning from a gambling trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, and caused several passengers to be hospitalized for a week after the crash, four in critical condition.
Neither the federal investigators nor the New York State Police have yet to determine a cause of the accident. Possible factors include driver fatigue, as casino bus drivers frequently work long hours with little sleep. Bronx County prosecutors are also evaluating the crash to make a decision as to whether criminal charges will be filed against the driver, Ophadel Williams. It has been learned that Williams had made false statements when he obtained his commercial driver’s license, including the fact that he had been incarcerated on a manslaughter charge years earlier, and was driving with a suspended license on the date of the accident.
As a result of the accident, New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn have called for an examination of the safety of buses in the low-cost bus industry, which capitalizes on providing cheap transportation to casinos in Connecticut and New Jersey in order to fill their buses with passengers. One obvious and “no brainer” step would be to immediately require seat belts for all passengers, not just the driver as is presently the statutory requirement. Additionally, another measure being considered would be an interior alarm in the bus which would notify the driver if he were veering off the road or about to run into an obstacle.
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, truck accident, or due to a defective product or medication, contact the Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyers online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced trial attorney. We will fight the insurance companies to obtain the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, and loss of enjoyment of life.