In March 2011, 15 people died and 17 others were injured when a bus crashed in the Bronx as it was returning to New York City from a Connecticut casino. In May, investigators revealed that driver fatigue was a likely cause of the crash. The driver was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
The bus driver could have faced up to 15 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. However, recently, the driver was found guilty of only one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, a minor offense in comparison to manslaughter. The accident caused the bus to be literally cut in half. The bus was reportedly traveling at 78 mph in a 50 mph zone. The driver says a truck cut him off, causing the bus to slam into a barrier before turning on its side and striking a pole. Surviving family members did not react well to the verdict. “I don’t like the jury’s decision,” said one woman who lost her 76-year-old father in the crash. “He’s still responsible for the crash since he was the driver. He’s still responsible for the lives.” While the driver has been cleared of any serious crimes, he could still be held responsible through civil lawsuits. Victims and surviving family members may be able to alleviate financial burdens through a civil lawsuit. They may also find some sense of justice through a successful lawsuit. People in New York and beyond must drive responsibly. When they fail to do that, terrible tragedies, such as the March 2011 bus crash, can occur. Source: New York Post, “Bus driver in deadly Bronx crash found not guilty of manslaughter, negligent homicide,” Doug Montero and Doug Auer, Dec. 7, 2012