Monday night there was a second tour bus crash in the New York metro area, with this one killing two people and injuring 40 others. The accident will likely add to the cry by lawmakers for a federal probe of the low-cost bus companies that serve Manhattan’s Chinatown.
A Super Luxury Tours bus crashed near exit 9 of the New Jersey Turnpike, near East Brunswick, N.J. The bus driver died after he went through the windshield, and a passenger later died at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to CNN.com.
That bus was en route from Manhattan’s Chinatown to Philadelphia.
Monday’s fatal bus accident comes in the wake of a horrific tour bus crash in the Bronx last weekend. That tragedy has now taken 15 lives, with another passenger succombing to his injuries Monday.
Authorities are questioning the bus driver’s claim that he lost control when the bus was clipped by a tractor trailer, since several passengers reported that he had been swerving off the road shortly before the accident.
That accident is under investgation by the National Transportation Safety Board, and authorities suspect that bus driver Ophadell Williams actually fell asleep at the wheel, then lost control of the World Wide Tours bus. The bus, traveling from a casino in Connecticut back to Chinatown in Manhattan on Interstate 95, rolled on its side and crashed into a sign stanchion.
The stanchion cut the bus in half, creating carnage, including the decapitation of one passenger.
According to a report Monday in The New York Times, witnesses told authorities that right before the accident the bus had repeatedly veered onto the highway’s shoulder, as if the driver was nodding off.
It was also disclosed Monday in various press reports, including one in The Wall Street Journal, that Williams has a criminal record. He was convicted of a 1990 manslaughter charge and was imprisoned for several years before being paroled in 1994, according to The Journal.
While on parole, he was arrested for grand larceny, was convicted, and then was sent back to prison until 2002, The Journal reported.
Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloombeg chimed in on the accident, telling reporters that there didn’t appear to be any evidence that a truck had hit the bus.
The accident in the Bronx has Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and other legislators calling for a major probe by the NTSB of federal regulation of low-cost bus companies.
Monday’s accident will give Schumer more fodder.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.