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Monday, September 13, 2010

Bus crash in Syracuse

At first I was surprised to hear that the DA was considering criminal charges for the driver - it was an accident after all. But since, I have reconsidered - the bus was TWO FEET taller than the clearly posted signs regarding the bridge height. It was late and the driver was lost, but still, driving safely is his job! Two of the 4 dead people are teenagers.

Here is a good summary from the NY Daily News:

A double-decker bus crash that killed four passengers and injured several more on Saturday was caused by a lost bus driver traveling on the wrong road in Central New York, police say.

Bus driver John Tomaszewski, "was looking for the Regional Transportation Center (on Park Street)," Onandaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh told the Syracuse Post Standard. "He was lost and unsure where he was."

The 13-foot-tall Megabus was supposed to stop at the Regional Transportation Center on Park Street, but at roughly 2:30 a.m., apparently due to the driver's confusion, it ended up on the Onondaga Lake Parkway.

The bus, carrying 28 passengers, slammed into the underpart of an overhead bridge and flipped over.

Passenger Reena Rai, 36, who had been dozing during the trip, woke up to horror.

"The next thing I knew there was a lady on top of me and her blood was just dripping on top of me profusely," Rai, who injured her back in the crash, told the Post Standard. "I yelled, 'Help, help!'"

Three men and an eighteen-year-old woman were killed in the accident, and 24 other passengers were taken to a local hospital. The crash shut down both sides of the highway for hours.

Walsh identified three of the four victims, including Deanna Armstrong, 18, of Voorhees NJ, Kevin Coffey, 19, a student at Temple University, Ashwani Mehta, 39, of India, and Rev. Benjamin Okerie, 35, of Malaysia, who was on a speaking tour of the United States.

All the dead and most seriously injured were sitting on the bus’s upper deck, Walsh said.

Tomaszewski, 59, suffered a head injury in the crash but was being interviewed by police. Walsh said he did not believe drinking or drug use was a factor in the wreck.

The American Red Cross reported four dead, four hospitalized overnight, five staying at the Crowne Plaza overnight and 15 released to go home, according to Red Cross spokesman Richard Blansett.

The Megabus left Philadelphia at 10 p.m. on Friday, and was due to make stops in Syracuse, Buffalo and Toronto, according to an executive for the bus operator, Coach USA.



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