Commuting via city buses is commonplace for many New Yorkers. In addition to enjoying the convenience and affordability of bus travel, they place a great deal of trust that the individual driving the bus maintains the highest standards of safety to avoid accidents.
For passengers traveling through a Bronx neighborhood on a Thursday night, their trip was anything but routine with an experienced driver whose skills, if not his sobriety, were put into question.
Without warning, the articulated vehicle composed of two buses connected via a pivot that helps navigate turns careened off the road, plunging 50 feet through a bridge. The impact left the terrified occupants dangling precariously off an overpass that saw part of the bus landing on the Cross Bronx Expressway.
Thankfully, rescue efforts were successful. Seven passengers were treated for minor injuries. The driver – with more than 11 years of experience and a sound safety record – suffered a broken jaw. While he passed an alcohol breath test, he refused to undergo urine testing at the hospital, not just once but three times.
While the driver claimed that the bus unexpectedly accelerated as he was trying to slow down to turn, the vehicle’s event recorder told a different story. It documented the bus traveling five times the allowable speed for turning and zero evidence of any mechanical issues.
The driver claimed that he made that turn “hundreds of times” without any problems. The MTA has suspended the driver without pay and continue to investigate the cause of the near-fatal accident.