It was a scene of horror on I-95 in the Bronx when a bus returning overnight to Manhattan's Chinatown from Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut flipped on its side and crashed into a metal pole, slicing off the top of the bus and leaving 15 passengers dead and injuring the remaining 17 riders. The latest reports may point to driver fatigue as the cause of the accident, with witnesses reporting that the bus was speeding and swerving off the road in the moments leading up to the accident.
The bus company, World Wide Travel, is based in Brooklyn and has been cited five times in the past two years for driver fatigue. The driver, Ophadell Williams, had left the casino at 3:45 am after arriving at approximately 10pm the previous night. It will be important to see what kind of fatigue management the bus company has in place and what kind of driving schedule Williams had in the 72 hours prior to this accident. Also, officials will look into the casino's records to see whether Williams checked into guest room and got any sleep while the passengers were in the casino. So far there is no evidence, as the Williams had originally claimed, that the bus had been struck by a tractor-trailer, causing it to veer off the road.
Chung Ninh, a 59-year-old passenger, told reporters "A man was screaming who had two arms cut off. A lot of people dead. A lot of blood all over the people." Limousine driver Homer Martinez, who was driving on the highway in the moments after the wreck, said, "People were saying, 'Oh my God. Oh my God,' holding their hands on their heads. I saw people telling other people not to go there, saying 'You don't want to see this.'"
Driver fatigue is a serious and dangerous problem, significantly with truck and bus drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that there are 56,000 sleep related road crashes annually in the USA, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. If you or someone you love was in an accident caused by someone else falling asleep at the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to know your legal rights and get proper representation.
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