Tag Archive | "gambling"

As bus accident probe continues, riders are undeterred

As bus accident probe continues, riders are undeterred

By: Yiting Sun, Sana Gulzar and Mehroz Baig

On March 12, 2011, a bus carrying 32 passengers crashed on the Bronx/Westchester County Border, on I-95, killing 15 passengers and injuring 18 others. Since then, government agencies have launched an investigation into the accident.

Despite the accident in the Bronx, as well as others in New Jersey and New Hampshire, travelers are not deterred from taking these buses, and business is continuing as usual.  Watch what passengers lining up for a bus from Chinatown to Atlantic City had to say:

In a March 30 update, Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that it is too soon to determine a cause of the accident, but that NTSB has so far determined that the driver of the bus was traveling at up to 78 miles per hour. The driver had said that another truck was involved in the accident. Another truck driver came forward saying that he had witnessed the accident. NTSB inspected his truck and found that it had not come in contact with the bus. The bus also had a camera attached to its windshield but the camera did not record the accident.

The NTSB is also holding a public forum on safety on May 10-11 to review progress since the last time the agency held such hearings, 12 years ago. This forum had been scheduled prior to the bus accident in the Bronx.

The NTSB is an independent government agency that investigates accidents to determine their cause and then makes recommendations. It does not have any power to enforce those recommendations or any responsibility in oversight of buses.

Oversight of commercial bus traffic rests with the New York State Department of Transportation and on a national level, the United States Department of Transportation. Since the bus accident, the state department of transportation held a three-day inspection of buses from March 18 – 20.  The agency set up 13 checkpoints and inspected 164 buses. Within Manhattan alone, inspectors checked 26 buses and found that 16 of them, or 62 percent, had violations that were significant enough to put the buses out of service. Outside of Manhattan, another 138 buses were inspected and 25 of them, or 18 percent, had violations that put those vehicles out of service.

According to the state department of transportation’s website, this agency conducts about 154,000 inspections a year and requires all buses to be inspected at least every six months. However, 80 percent of the inspections are done on buses used for school transportation services. The other 20 percent are parceled out among other services such as charter buses, line-run commercial buses, ambulette, and airport buses.

World Wide Travel of Greater New York is the operating company of the bus involved in the crash. CNN reported that the company was involved in two crashes since 2009, and cited five times for fatigued driving from December 2009 to October 2010. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website also lists two crashes for World Wide Travel, but does not specify when they took place.

The chart below displays the number of inspections the company had each year, and the number it failed, according to the New York State Department of Transportation. During the most recent fiscal year, from April 2009 to May 2010, the company did not fail any inspections. The company could not be reached for a response.

Source: NY State Department of Transportation

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former Featured, VideoComments (0)

15 people dead in bus accident on the Hutch

A fatal crash left 14 dead after a tour bus making its way from Connecticut to Manhattan on Saturday morning crashed into a highway sign post. (David Karp / AP)

By Camilo Smith

Fourteen people died in a casino tour bus accident on the New England Thruway early Saturday morning after the bus collided with a tractor tailor and skidded to a stop at the entrance to the Hutchinson Parkway near Co-Op City, authorities said.  A 15th victim died later.

A total of 32 passengers were on the bus that was headed to Manhattan after a Connecticut gambling trip. Local media reports said 13 people died at the scene. Another passenger died after being rushed to Jacobi Hospital. Police said passengers ranged in age from 20 to 50.

Joe Conzo, a veteran New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Technician, spoke with many of the emergency personnel from the Battalion 18 fire department station in East Tremont, where he works.

“Most of my guys that were on the scene got put off of service,” he said referring to first responders who took off work to see grief counselors. “They did their job, they transported victims, brought bodies out of the wreck.”

Conzo wasn’t at the scene but said the words used by his fellow EMT’s to describe the crash scene were “complete carnage.”

Media reports described body parts and limbs severed by jagged metal torn from the bus as its roof was sliced in two by the signpost for Exit 14, the Hutchinson Parkway. The New York Times reported that at least one person was decapitated in the accident.

World Wide Tours in Brooklyn operates the overnight gambling bus that made a trip to the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut and was returning to Chinatown. A statement by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that most of the passengers were Chinese. The tour bus company released a statement expressing sympathy for the crash victims.

It wasn’t immediately known if any of the passengers were Bronx residents.

Police say there was a tractor-trailer in the lane adjacent to the bus before it crashed, but are still piecing together the exact chain of events. “The truck either starts to swerve, or perhaps even hits the bus, we’re not certain at this time,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a press conference earlier today. “In the effort to avoid that activity the bus driver swerves all the way over to the right, he strikes the guardrail, the bus goes down along the guard rail,” he added.

Of the 19 injured victims, according to reports, 14 were taken to Jacobi Medical Center. Five were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, including the bus driver, according to Conzo. Media reports say much of the impact was felt toward the front of the bus, but Conzo said the driver survived probably because he was using his seat belt.

Police reports said authorities are investigating whether or not the crash was caused by the tractor-trailer driver who clipped the front of the bus.

The southbound portion of the New England Thruway between Exit 14 and 15 had been closed since around 6 a.m., but finally re-opened by the evening.

You can watch part of the press conference courtesy of the Associated Press:

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former FeaturedComments (0)