(NEW YORK) — A casino bus driver has largely skirted criminal responsibility for last year’s deadly bus crash in New York City.
The driver, Ophadell Williams, was returning from a trip to a Connecticut casino in March 2011, when he crashed into a pole, shearing off the roof of the bus. Fifteen people were killed in the accident in the Bronx in New York City.
Williams was also cleared in all counts of criminally negligent homicide and assault charges. He was convicted of one count of driving without a license.
Prosecutors argued that the driver was recklessly exhausted and sleep deprived when he got behind the wheel.
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said Friday, “We argued that Mr. Williams had twice received training warning of the dangers of driving without enough sleep and that he was aware of the necessary precautions to safeguard his passengers. We presented telephone and car rental records which documented the many hours, in the days leading up to the crash, that Mr. Williams was awake and active when he should have been getting sufficient rest. There was also forensic evidence which ruled out contact with another vehicle as a cause of the crash. In addition, information retrieved from the “black box” indicated Mr. Williams never attempted to apply the brakes as the bus careened out of control.
“We believe that our case was compelling,” he said, “nevertheless we accept the decision of the jury.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jareen Imam, CNN
Steve Visser, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, CNN
Karen Banes, FamilyShare