As the third tour bus crash in upstate New York during the past three weeks, a bus transporting Polish sightseers on August 3 lost control and overturned on I-81. Officials said all aboard were injured (news reports vary, claiming the number of passengers between 28-30 people); there were no fatalities. Police cited dense rain and “speed too fast for the conditions” as the causes of the wreck, which took place on a rustic stretch of highway near Whitney Point, NY.
The bus was en route from Niagara Falls, NY, to Trenton, NJ, when it reportedly veered off I-81 southbound, plummeted down an 80-foot grass bank, and rolled onto its roof in a ravine. Among the injured, one woman was pinned beneath the bus for more than one hour, according to reports, before rescue workers could successfully dig her free. State police said 19 people injured in the wreck were cared for at three Binghamton-region hospitals. By Thursday, August 4, the day following the crash, all had been reportedly released. Officials said the state police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit took the bus to an undisclosed location to perform an examination of the vehicle and a further investigation into the cause of the accident.
According to the police, the bus was licensed to Princeton Holdings Inc. of Morrisville, PA, a company that also runs the Trenton-based Amerpol Tours. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration files show the company earned a “satisfactory” safety grade (the best of three levels) in October 2009. Over the past two years, data shows four inspections of the bus found small equipment issues, as well as a neglect in keeping data aimed at battling driver tiredness, but none warranted removal from service. No records indicate alcohol or substance abuse violations associated with the bus or company.
This crash also comes right on the heels of New York’s mass suspension of the operating licenses for eight bus companies that repeatedly violated safety regulations, prompted by a fatal Bronx tour bus accident in March that killed 15 passengers. If you or a family member has been involved in a PA tour bus accident, call the Pennsylvania bus accident lawyers at Anapol Weiss at 1-866-735-2792 for a free consultation of your case.