Bus Driver Acquitted Of Manslaughter In Crash That Killed 15

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Posted on 7th December 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/nyregion/ophadell-williams-driver-in-fatal-bus-crash-found-not-guilty-of-manslaughter.html

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.”

Bus Driver Goes On Trial For 15 Manslaughter Charges In Crash

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Posted on 28th September 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A prosecutor this week blamed a bus driver’s fatigue and sleep deprivation for an accident that killed 15 passengers on a tour bus that was returning from a Connecticut casino back to Manhattan’s Chinatown, according to The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/nyregion/trial-begins-for-bus-driver-in-crash-that-killed-15-passengers.html?_r=0

Ophadell Williams, 41, went on trial in the Bronx on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide stemming from a March 12, 2011, crash. In that early-morning accident, Williams crashed the bus into a stanchion, ripping off its roof and killing passengers.

One passenger was decapitated, and one of the survivors lost both his arms when he raised them up to protect his head, according to The Times.

The prosecution alleges that although Williams had been educated about the dangers of driving while tired, instead of resting up for his night shifts he was driving around in a rental car, according to The Times.

In contrast, Williams’ defense attorney claimed that the tour bus was cut off by a tractor-trailer, causing the accident, The Times reported.

If convicted, Williams could be sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison.

The National Transportation Safety Board this summer issued a report that cited driver fatigue and lack of oversight by World Wide Travel, the bus’s owner, for the accident.

 

 

 

Bus Driver In Bronx Accident That Killed 15 Charged With Manslaugther

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Posted on 5th September 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The bus driver at the helm during a crash that killed 15 people in March in the Bronx has been indicted on numerous counts of manslaughter. And Ophadell Williams entered a not guilty plea to those charges, even after a prosecutor said that the defendant knew he was too tired to drive. The end result was that now more than a dozen people are dead.

The fatal crash on Interstate 95, which happened March 12 as the bus was en route from a Connecticut casino to Manhattan, has prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take a series of actions to crack down on the tour-bus industry. And national safety officials are taking a look at the issue, too.

 Williams apparently fell asleep at the wheel, and his bus subsequently accelerated to 78 miles an hour. The vehicle turned over and struck a metal stanchion, which cut it in half from the front to the back. Some passengers were decapitated during the horrific accident.    

 According to The New York Times, at Williams’ arraignment a prosecutor accused the defendant of recklessness — reckless because Williams had been driving during his off hours and was very tired when he was driving back from the Mohegan Sun Casino.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/nyregion/bus-driver-knew-he-was-dangerously-tired-prosecutor-says.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=ophadell%20williams&st=cse

 Williams, who didn’t even have a valid driver’s license and has a criminal record, was charged with 15 counts of manslaughter; 15 counts of criminally negligent homicide; 23 counts of assault for the passengers he hurt; reckless driving; and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

 The manslaughter charges alone each have a maximum sentence of 15 years.

 The terrible accident in the spring wasn’t Williams’ first problem as a bus driver, but he had kept the others well hidden. First of all, he had done time in prison for manslaughter and larceny.

 And last week the New York inspector general released a report on Williams’ that said at the time of the crash, he had three suspensions to his driving privileges open under the alias of Eric Williams, The Times reported.

 Williams, upstanding citizen that he is, had provided false information to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and the bus companies that wound up hiring him.

 The only good to come out of this tragic case is the spotlight it has put on the under-regulated discount tour bus industry.

 But that won’t help the survivors of the 15 victims who were slaughtered in the crash.