Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Driver in deadly bus crash acquitted
NEW YORK -- A tour bus driver who prosecutors said was all but asleep at the wheel was acquitted Friday of manslaughter and negligent homicide in a crash last year that killed 15 gamblers on their way from a Connecticut casino to Chinatown in New York City's borough of Queens in March 2011.
Ophadell Williams was found guilty of one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison, which he has served. He also was ordered to pay a fee of $500.
The crash wracked Chinatown, where many of the passengers lived. At the time, about 30,000 Chinese New Yorkers were taking discount buses from Chinatown to casinos each week.
City Coun. Margaret Chin, who represents the neighbourhood, said "justice has not been served in this case."
Williams argued throughout the trial that he had been awake and alert, and the crash was not the result of reckless behaviour or extreme exhaustion. He said a tractor-trailer cut him off, causing him to swerve and hit a guardrail. But investigators could find no indication that had occurred.
His lawyer had said he was wracked with guilt over the crash -- but not guilty of manslaughter.
"It happened as a motor vehicle accident, not as some crime," said Williams' lawyer, Patrick Bruno. "He tried to avoid tragedy and tragedy occurred."
Bruno said the verdict is "saying that if you are going to try and make fatigue -- sleepiness -- a criminal legal issue in a motor vehicle accident, you have a lot, lot more to prove."
Florence Wong, who lost her father, 76-year-old Don Lee, told reporters she still believes Williams is responsible for the lives lost in the accident.
"I do not agree with the jury, but I respect their decision because they did look at the evidence and they came out with a verdict," she said.
Prosecutor Garry Wiel alleged Williams was so sleep-deprived from working another job during the day that it affected his reflexes the same as if he were intoxicated behind the wheel.
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 8, 2012 A24
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 20 articles for today)7:28 PM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- Rough times in Russia
- Video purports to show Islamic State militants killing captured Ethiopian Christians in Libya
- Canada's turn as Arctic Council head to end at Iqaluit meeting; Kerry takes over
- Fearful immigrants say South Africans warned they would target anyone with foreign passport
- Egypt court sentences 11 fans to death in 2012 soccer riot, in highly charged case
- Caged puppies on car roof trigger flurry of 911 calls in Ohio, police take custody
- Republicans disagree on foreign policy
- Sheriff: Cannot arrest woman who bragged on Facebook of killing cat unless photo is genuine
- Review reveals flaws in forensic testimony
- California serial killer denied parole; man went on 9-day crime rampage, killing 4
- Dispatcher seemed confused by 911 call: 'I'm inside a plane, and I feel like it's moving'
- Court releases video of 'Suge' Knight running over 2 men, other evidence in case
- Couple killed with baby when concrete slab fell from overpass onto pickup were youth ministers
- As her 2016 campaign debuts, Republican presidential candidates already united against Clinton
- 'Free-range' parenting under the gun
- Police again pick up children, 6 and 10, of 'free-range' parents, take kids to child services
- Milwaukee motorist shot, killed after van strikes child; teen brother of child also killed
- Physicians want Dr. Mehmet Oz gone from Columbia medical faculty, say he lacks integrity
- Driver who hit toddler in US street starts chain of events that leaves 4 people dead
- It wasn't the strippers, it was the noise that led to downfall of a Florida stripper school
- Alps plane crash cause remains mystery; report says audio shows 1 pilot locked out of cockpit
- German co-pilot locks cockpit, deliberately slams plane into Alps; investigators study why
- Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness, torn-up sick notes for day of crash
- Report says 1 pilot locked out of cockpit before crash that killed 150 people
- Al-Shabab gunmen kill 147 at university in Kenya; 4 attackers slain by troops to end siege
- Germanwings co-pilot researched suicide, cockpit doors before crash; France finds 2nd recorder
- German airline could face 'unlimited' damages for crash blamed on co-pilot
- Utility says it removed stolen electric meter from rental home where 8 died of gas poisoning
- Gunman in Kenyan massacre was government official's son, underscoring threat from within
- White SC police officer charged with murder in black man's death after dramatic video emerges
Ads by Google