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Bus Driver Was Not on Drugs When He Crashed in Times Square, Tests Show

By  Aidan Gardiner and Mathew Katz | August 7, 2014 8:26am 

 William Dalambert was initially arrested for driving while he was impaired by drugs, police said.
William Dalambert was initially arrested for driving while he was impaired by drugs, police said.
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MANHATTAN — The bus driver who police said was on drugs when he crashed his double-decker tour bus into a busy Times Square sidewalk, injuring 14 people, was released Wednesday night after passing blood and urine tests.

William Dalambert, 58, was driving his red Gray Line tour bus down Seventh Avenue about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday when he slammed into another bus near the TKTS booth at 47th Street and careened into a street light and a concrete bench, officials and witnesses said.

Fourteen people, including a tour guide who was on Dalambert's bus, were injured in the crash, some of them suffering broken bones, officials said.

Dalambert, who lives in New Jersey, failed a field sobriety test and was arrested about 8:30 p.m. on charges of driving while his ability was impaired by drugs, police said Wednesday.

But he was later released when "a battery of tests" came up negative for any drugs in his system, an NYPD spokesman said.

"The DA's office is deferring any decision to prosecute until we have completed our investigation," a Manhattan DA spokeswoman said in a statement. "Preliminary testing for alcohol and drugs has come back negative. We are awaiting results of the full toxicology report. We are taking this matter seriously and prosecutors in the Office's Vehicular Crimes Unit are conducting a thorough investigation."

According to a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Dalambert's driver's license has been suspended 11 times and his registration suspended nine times since 1993.

All of the suspensions were for administrative reasons, such as non-payment of surcharges, and not for dangerous or reckless driving, the spokeswoman said.

Gray Line's parent company Twin America said it was conducting its own internal investigation and that Dalambert will remain suspended.

“Our thoughts continue to be with those injured and are thankful that all are on their way to recovery," a spokesman said Thursday. "Our most recent biannual inspection from [the Department of Transportation] on May 30, 2014 resulted in a score of 100 out of 100 and highlights our strong dedication to safety and a commitment to sound maintenance standards and practices."