We have previously covered the story of the Chinatown bus driver who allegedly caused a fatal accident in the Bronx last year, an accident that claimed the lives of 15 people. Following the crash, the bus driver was arrested and held on 53 criminal charges, including criminally negligent homicide, assault and manslaughter. In the end, he was only convicted of one charge -- aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Instead of spending up to 15 years in prison and paying a $250,000 fine, he was sentenced to 30 days and freed for time served.
For anyone still dealing with the death of a loved one, this verdict likely seems utterly unfair. After all, the driver had been driving nearly 30 mph over the speed limit at the time of the crash and had been so tired that prosecutors likened his state to one of inebriation. While he may not be sent to prison for his apparently involvement in the accident, the victims and their family members may be able to file wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against the driver. This could serve as both a punishment and as a way to pay the victims for their losses.
This is not the first time that the driver had been in trouble for his driving, either. When he was younger, he had received several summonses, but he had used his middle name at the time. When he applied for a commercial license, however, he used his first name and, apparently, did not immediately have any problems. At some point, however, he was caught and had his license suspended.
The 42-year-old driver has claimed throughout this ordeal that the reason for the crash was that he had been cut off by a tractor-trailer truck. It is unclear, however, what proof he had for this defense or whether any trucks had been in the area in the moments leading up to the crash.
As the families of the dead try to move forward, they may consider doing so by filing wrongful death lawsuits against this now-free driver.
If you are interested in learning more about this fatal accident, please visit our previous post on this tragic bus crash.
Source: New York Post, "Bus driver in deadly Bronx crash found not guilty of manslaughter, negligent homicide," Doug Montero and Doug Auer, Dec. 7, 2012