Local

Charter Bus Did Not Brake, Received No Warning From GPS Before Overpass Crash

The out-of-state driver of a charter bus full of high school students that crashed into a low-hanging overpass on a Long Island parkway was using a non-commercial GPS device that didn’t warn him about the hazard in time to prevent an accident that left two passengers seriously injured, police said Monday.

State police Major David Candelaria said the driver never slowed down before slamming into the overpass on Sunday night on the Southern State Parkway, where buses, tractor-trailers and other commercial traffic are banned.

“There was no signs of braking, stopping, anything like that,” Candelaria said.

The driver also didn’t have the benefit of a high-tech warning system being installed by the state Department of Transportation that uses electronic sensors that emit invisible beams to detect any trucks or buses heading toward low overpasses along parkways built in the 1930s and 1940s for cars alone. The devices were recently installed near the site of the wreck but were still being tested, Department of Transportation spokesman Joseph Morrissey said.

“Safety is our top priority, and while we can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, throughout this area there is signage indicating height restrictions and making clear that commercial vehicles are prohibited from driving on parkways,” Morrissey said.

A roadside sign posted by the state on the overpass in Lakeview, just east of New York City, says the clearance at its lowest point is 7 feet, 7 inches (2.3 meters). The height of the bus was believed to be about 12 feet (3.7 meters).

Police hadn’t determined whether the driver, Troy Gaston, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, would be charged, Candelaria said. Though it was the first time in recent memory that a bus had hit an overpass on the parkway, there have been several accidents involving tractor-trailer drivers who are unfamiliar with the route, he said.

Two 17-year-old girls remained hospitalized on Monday with serious injuries from the crash. They were part of a group of 38 students and five chaperones who had arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport after a spring break trip to Europe and were heading to a drop-off location in Huntington Station. The bus was operated by Irvington, New Jersey-based Journey Bus Lines.

Passengers reported hearing someone yell “Duck!” as the bus approached the overpass, Candelaria said, but it was unclear if it was the driver.

Gaston showed “tremendous remorse and is very upset over the accident,” the police official added.

In 2010, a double-decker bus driver with a personal GPS crashed into an overpass near Syracuse, killing four passengers. He was using the device to find his way to a bus station and passed 13 low-bridge warning signs, some with flashing yellow lights, before the wreck, authorities said.

On Monday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration urged truck drivers on Twitter to “always use a PROFESSIONAL-GRADE GPS that provide critical route restrictions, such as low bridge overpasses.”

In 2012, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer held a news conference at the same overpass calling for tougher safety standards. On Monday, he demanded answers.

“Why, why, why in God’s name would the systems that were available to avoid this accident not be in place on this bus?” Schumer said.

(AP)

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local

More in Local

dabebd5f2521ba2595df31ddf8f12b78.jpg

TEHILLIM: Frum Man Stabbed In Manhattan And In Critical Condition

adminApril 23, 2018

BH Lubavitch of Scotland

adminApril 23, 2018
58a25817598ca4a47098ea09e201d7f4.jpg

NEWS VIDEOS: Surveillance Footage Of Vicious Crown Heights Assault; Victims Says He Recited ‘Shema Yisroel’

adminApril 23, 2018
b85a78a29011d2e038f5207536d5022c.jpg

WATCH: NYPD Officers Save Life Of Elderly Tourist Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest

adminApril 23, 2018
f758a5d647acc087d4722e1d261f2d19.jpg

WATCH: NYPD Officers Save Life Of Elderly Tourist Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest

adminApril 23, 2018
df35b159f5314fa9d3799a1eb973f808.jpg

No Plans By Trump To Fire Mueller, Rosenstein: WH

adminApril 23, 2018
991bd56696d35c034405eec62259fec2.jpg

Judge Rules Toms River Must Allow Chabad House To Remain Open; Township To Pay $122K In Damages

adminApril 20, 2018
0638add054242ec71c08616b90878d7b.jpg

WATCH: Residents Frustrated With Vehicles Driving On Sidewalks In Boro Park

adminApril 20, 2018
1d5ac7fd1be78cae1ed710d88999385e.jpg

California Professor: Barbara Bush An ‘Amazing Racist’

adminApril 20, 2018