- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
- Israel’s ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- Md. parents accused of locking up autistic twin sons
- Dancing Kim Jong-un video sparks North Korea fury
Officials probe bus driver’s trail before fatal N.Y. crash
Question of the Day
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators looking into a weekend tour bus crash in New York that killed 15 people are focusing on the driver, a man with a decades-old manslaughter conviction who was not supposed to be driving because he had not resolved several traffic tickets.
The bus driver, Ophadell Williams, was ticketed in 1995 for speeding and twice for driving without a license, giving police the alias Erik Williams, two state officials familiar with the accident probe told the Associated Press on Monday. Mr. Williams‘ driving privileges were suspended, meaning he couldn’t legally drive in the state, after he failed to address the charges.
The bus crash occurred Saturday as gamblers were returning to New York’s Chinatown neighborhood, in downtown Manhattan, after a few hours at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn. The bus was sheared in half by a sign pole.
On Monday night, another company’s tour bus from Chinatown to Philadelphia crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing the driver and a passenger. About 40 people were hospitalized.
Investigators zeroed in on the 40-year-old Mr. Williams‘ record after his story that his tour bus was clipped by a tractor-trailer fell apart when passengers and witnesses said it never happened.
Investigators are trying to follow Mr. Williams‘ steps by matching Social Security numbers of traffic stops under different names, the officials said, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. Mr. Williams also had an incomplete log book, which is required for commercial drivers, the officials said.
The revelations about Mr. Williams, who has a 20-year-old manslaughter conviction, prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch a state investigation into how Mr. Williams was able to hold a valid commercial driver’s license at the time of Saturday’s crash.
Telephone calls to Mr. Williams‘ Brooklyn home were unanswered Monday. A spokesman for the bus company that employed him, World Wide Travel, declined to comment, on the instructions of federal investigators.
Mr. Williams was convicted of crimes using two aliases. He served just more than two years for manslaughter for his role in a stabbing in 1990, state correction records show. He initially was charged with second-degree murder.
Mr. Williams served about three years, from 1998 to the middle of 2002, for grand larceny for removing an $83,905 check from a Police Athletic League fund, correctional services spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.
He also was arrested by New York City police on June 4, 2003, for driving with a suspended license and for possession of three police radios. In 1987, he was arrested on charges of trying to get on public transportation without paying.
No federal regulations prohibit states from issuing a license to a bus driver with a criminal record, said Duane DeBruyne, a spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Mr. Hart, the NTSB vice chairman, said the bus and the tractor-trailer had black-box-like engine-control modules that might have stored information. He said the module from the bus had been sent to the NTSB lab in Washington for downloading; the tractor-trailer was impounded.
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- Obamacare dealt massive setback by federal appeals court
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq