A bus driver who was behind the wheel during a ghastly accident in the Bronx that killed 15 passengers, and ripped the arms off another man, was acquitted of manslaughter and negligent homicide charges Friday, The New York Times reported.
The case had been seen as possibly setting a precedent for prosecuting motorists who drive when they are too tired, amounting to criminal behavior. Such was not the case.
The defendant, 41-year-old Ophadell Williams, had been accused by the prosecution of being so tired when he was driving as if he were drunk, and that this conduct rose to the criminal level of manslaughter and homicide. Obviously the jury didn’t agree, as it only convicted Williams of one misdemeanor charge for unpaid tickets, The Times reported.
Williams was driving a bus that was returning to Chinatown in Manhattan from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut when he struck a guardrail on Interstate 95 in the Bronx. The top of the bus was sheared off, killing the 15 and injuring many others, including a passenger who lost his arms when he tried to protect his face.
The jury deliberated five days after sitting through a trial that began in September, according to The Times.
Williams, who didn’t testify, isn’t off the hook. He is being sued by several passengers who lived through the crash, and the survivors of some who didn’t.
The lawyer for the passenger who lost both his arms told The Times, “Running a bus off a highway might not be a crime, but it’s certainly negligence.”
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.