BRONX — Driver fatigue caused the fatal crash of a Chinatown bus in the Bronx last year, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday.
The ruling coincided with the agency releasing a video animation recreating the accident that left 15 people dead and 17 injured last year. The video shows the World Wide Travel bus swerve and then flip over on its side before colliding with a highway sign.
The NTSB found that the driver, Ophadell Williams, hadn't slept much in the days before the crash and also placed blame on the bus company for insufficient oversight of Williams.
The bus was returning to the city on March 12, 2011 after an overnight trip to Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino, when, at about 5:38 a.m., it began to drift to the right, over the rumble strips and onto the shoulder of Interstate-95.
After hitting the guardrail, the report says the coach traveled 480 feet before tipping over on its right side, crushing the rail and colliding with an overhead highway sign, which subsequently tore the roof off of the bus as it slid.
A federal investigation at the time of the crash revealed that, less than a minute before the crash, the bus was traveling at 78 mph, 23 mph over the speed limit.
The report also said that the guardrails along I-95 weren't strong enough to deflect a vehicle the size of a bus. That could have pushed the bus away from the sign post that tore off the roof, the report found.
Williams pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in September. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.