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Driver Fatigue Caused Deadly Bronx Bus Crash: NTSB

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Federal officials say a deadly New York tour bus crash last year was caused by a driver suffering from fatigue.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a unanimous vote Tuesday, said the bus company, World Wide Tours of Greater New York, was also to blame for not providing adequate safety oversight of the driver, Ophadell Williams.

On March 12, 2011, a bus returning to New York's Chinatown from an overnight trip to a Connecticut casino crashed into the support pole for a highway sign.

The pole knifed through the bus front to back along the window line, peeling the roof off all the way to the back tires. Investigators have said the bus was speeding.

The driver was an MTA bus driver for a brief time in 2007, WNYC reported.

On his job application with the MTA, Williams admitted his driver's license had been suspended from 1996 to 2003 because of "child support." He also wrote, "I made a couple of mistakes in my life."

That did not stop the MTA from hiring him. But then a background check revealed Williams had failed to disclose a pair of felony convictions, and he was terminated after two weeks on the job. The MTA say Williams never got behind the wheel of a bus with passengers.

A preliminary report said Williams was speeding at 78 miles per hour shortly before he lost control of the bus, which struck a highway signpost.

A toxicology test cleared Williams of drug use, and a breath test that he took at the scene of the accident showed that he hadn't been drinking.

Jim O'Grady and the Associated Press contributed reporting

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