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Police Set Up Chinatown Bus Checkpoint in Safety Crackdown

By DNAinfo Staff on March 16, 2011 10:49am

Investigators work to find the cause of a bus crash which killed at 15 in the Bronx on March 12, 2011.
Investigators work to find the cause of a bus crash which killed at 15 in the Bronx on March 12, 2011.
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AP Photo/David Karp

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Police set up checkpoints in Chinatown Tuesday to crack down on tour buses following two deadly crashes involving discount coaches in the last few days, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Officers with the NYPD Traffic Task Force Truck Unit enforced a checkpoint on Allen Street that took six buses off the road Tuesday, the Journal reported.

The NYPD was checking for driver authorization, proper brake pressure and steering violations, among other regulations, according to the paper.

Police issued 40 summonses to tour bus operators Tuesday for safety violations including lack of fire extinguisher and road flares, the Journal reported.

The crackdown came after a World Wide Tour Bus returning from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut crashed on I-95 Saturday, killing 15 passengers followed by another tour bus crash Monday on the New Jersey Turnpike that resulted in two deaths and 40 injuries.

The driver of the World Wide Tour Bus crash, Ophadell Williams, 40, had said his bus was tagged by a tractor trailer but his version was disputed by survivors who said that he'd dozed off during the overnight drive.

Williams had a valid commercial driving license but had an extensive rap sheet including a suspended driver's license.

State and federal authorities were investigating what factors, including driver fatigue, played into Saturday's crash and looking at the vehicle's on-board black box for clues.

Super Luxury Tours, the operator of the coach bus that crashed Monday, had been cited numerous times for unsafe driving and fatigued drivers and the company has had four crashes in the past two years.