Budget Bus in Fatal Bronx Crash Was Speeding, Feds Find
Friday, April 15, 2011
The budget bus that crashed on I-95 in the Bronx killing 15 passengers last month was speeding at 78 miles per hour moments before the tragic accident, a report by federal investigators revealed.
The National Transportation Safety Board probe also uncovered no evidence that a tractor trailer truck cut off and struck the bus, causing it to swerve off the highway and smash into a steel guardrail, a claim the driver, Ophadell Williams, had made.
Sensors on the bus's engine show it was moving at top speed down a southbound lane of the Hutchinson River Parkway only 45 seconds before impact.
The Bronx District Attorney has not yet decided whether to file charges against the driver or World Wide Travel, the operator of the bus operates 35 buses and employs 40 full-time and 35 part-time drivers.
The company has had a contract with Mohegan Sun Casino to make 14 daily round-trips between New York City and the casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Williams was driving the return leg of that run when the accident occurred at 5:45 a.m.
The Federal Motorcoach Safety Administration gave the company a "satisfactory" rating in 2008, the last time it was reviewed. But World Wide Travel's current status with the FMCSA shows it finished in the bottom half of bus companies for violations in the category of driver's fatigue. Inspectors found fatigued drivers on World Wide Travel buses five times during 27 inspections in 2009 and 2010.
The NTSB said it would have a full report on the accident by March 2012. In the meantime, two bills are pending in Congress that call for better background checks of long distance bus drivers and mandatory training to a national standard.