15th victim dies from injuries after NYC bus crash
NEW YORK -- A 70-year-old man who died Monday became the 15th fatality from the gruesome weekend crash of a tour bus returning to New York's Chinatown from a Connecticut casino.
Federal traffic safety experts and state police were investigating Saturday's crash and the bus driver, studying a black box-type recorder and looking into the drivers' actions before the deadly trip.
The National Transportation and Safety Board scheduled a briefing for later Monday.
Police said the latest victim died Monday morning at St. Barnabas' Hospital in the Bronx. His name, like that of the other victims, was not made public. Officials said most were of Chinese descent.
The New York City medical examiner's office said Sunday that the other fatalities -- eight men and six women -- all died of blunt force trauma. The bus scraped along a guard rail, toppled and slid into a sign pole that sheared it end to end in a horrific scene of blood, jumbled bodies and shattered glass. Some of the dead were tangled up with the living.
The bus was returning from the Mohegan Sun casino in southwestern Connecticut. It was one of scores that travel daily between Chinatown and the casinos there.
Mohegan Sun, in Uncasville, Conn., caters to Chinese-American gamblers and has estimated that a fifth of its business comes from Asian spending.
The driver, 40-year-old Ophadell Williams, survived and was released from St. Barnabas on Sunday and was at his Brooklyn home on Monday.
He told police that his bus was clipped by a tractor trailer just as it crossed the New York City line on Interstate 95 early Saturday. But survivors and other witnesses have told investigators that Williams swerved to the right at times before the accident.
The NTSB said Sunday it had interviewed passengers but not the driver. Vice Chairman Christopher Hart said the board planned to talk to the bus company about its fatigue management program and to see if the driver checked into a room at the casino. A blood sample has been taken from him to check for drugs and alcohol.
The company said it was cooperating.
Hart said three devices would be analyzed: a camera mounted in the bus, an engine control module, which may tell how fast the bus was going; and a GPS tracking device from a tractor-trailer that has been impounded.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)