Bus driver in fatal crash charged

Sept. 2, 2011 at 12:19 AM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The driver of a bus that crashed in New York City while returning from a casino trip was arraigned Thursday on manslaughter charges.

Ophadell Williams was also charged with negligent homicide, The New York Times reported. He was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Williams, 44, was behind the wheel of a World Wide Travel bus returning from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut in March when it flipped over, skidded and hit a sign pole that speared the bus and sliced through the side, decapitating some passengers.

The crash on I-95, just after the bus entered The Bronx, killed 15 passengers.

Gary Weil, an assistant district attorney in The Bronx, said Williams knew he was in no condition to drive because he had been working during what was supposed to be time off.

"The defendant owed it to his passengers to do better," Weil said.

State Inspector General Ellen Biben released a report Thursday that said Williams, who has convictions for manslaughter and larceny, obtained a commercial operator's license and jobs by lying on applications.

Williams helped free people from the bus despite his injuries. His lawyer said he is "remorseful" but that what happened was an accident.

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