Fifteen people died in a tour bus crash in New York last month. At the time, the tour bus was returning from a casino when it overturned on the New England Thruway at about 5:30 a.m. on March 12th. The Worldwide Tour bus skidded on its side into a sign pole on the southbound side of Interstate 95. The sign post sheared off the top of the bus along the window line, nearly two-thirds the length of the vehicle. The bus was transporting over 30 passengers. In addition to the 15 fatalities, several other passengers were severely injured.
It has been learned that the driver of the bus has a criminal history that includes manslaughter and theft convictions. He was convicted of manslaughter for his role in a 1990 stabbing and served over two years in prison. The driver had also served about three years for grand larceny in October 1997. The man used aliases in both those cases. He had been a bus driver and was also arrested for driving without a license and having three police scanners in 2003. Does this sound like a man who should be driving a bus hired out to the public?
Alcohol and drug test results for the driver were pending at press time. An accident reconstruction team and the National Transportation Safety Board are now attempting to determine the cause of the accident and the speed of the bus prior to the incident. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records listed World Wide Travel as having at least two other accidents in which people were injured in the past 24 months. The agency flagged the company for possible extra scrutiny due to violations involving driver fatigue regulations.
As expected, the investigation is focusing on the driver. His story was that his tour bus was clipped by a tractor-trailer, causing him to lose control. But that story has been contradicted by passengers and witnesses who saw the driver driving erratically before the crash. This was a tragedy involving the loss of 15 lives that could have been avoided!
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