Bus Crash Kills 14 on 1-95

Elizabeth Field

A tour bus leaving the Mohegan Sun Casino was headed to China Town in New York City when the driver, Ophadel Williams, swerved, hitting a sign stanchion, slicing the bus in half. Fourteen people were killed and 19 were injured, 5 of them in critical condition.

It was a grim scene in the outskirts of the Bronx where the crash occurred. Passengers had been decapitated, maimed, and trapped, bloody under the carnage of the bus. Captain James Ellson grimly stated, “It was a pile of humans, either still in their seats or on the floor, wrapped in the metal, wrapped in the wreckage. They were in the full length of the bus; from the front to the rear there were bodies. It was just a pile.” Captain Matthew Galvin added, “People were moaning and screaming for help. Some of the dead were tangled up with the living.”

The 40-year-old bus driver, Orphadel Williams, told investigators at the scene that he lost control of the tour bus when a tractor-trailer entered his lane and he swerved to avoid collision.

After this occurred the bus toppled over and crashed into a support post for a highway exit sign. The post entered through the front window, literally slicing through the seated areas and detaching the roof all the way to the back tires.

The tractor-trailer whose careless driving caused this deadly crash did not stop and has yet to be identified. Major Michael Kopy added, “We are conducting at this point as if, in fact, it is a criminal investigation.”

In response to the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board has launched a thorough investigation to look into the crash. Over the past two years, World Wide Travel, operators of the crashed tour bus, has undergone 26 investigations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, was cited five times, and has sustained two accidents involving injuries.

This past Saturday, one week after the fatal crash, families of the victims held a prayer ceremony on the grassy area of the highway where their loved ones lost their lives just one week prior.