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Fatal bus collision likely caused by loose thermos

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believe they have determined the cause of a catastrophic bus collision that occurred in Flushing in September 2017. They believe the charter bus driver’s metal thermos likely wedged itself against the pedals on the floorboard of the bus and prevented him from braking to avoid striking an MTA bus.

The two buses collided on Northern Blvd., killing the charter bus driver and two others and injuring 17.

The NTSB released the report on Feb. 28. The concluded that it was likely that the charter bus for Dahlia Travel & Tours was traveling 30 miles over the posted speed limit of 30 mph when it slammed into the public transit bus at the Main Street intersection.

After speaking to the wife of the deceased 49-year-old bus driver from College Point, they learned that he took his thermos to work that day. It was found on the floorboard of the bus in proximity to the brake and gas pedals. A review of a GPS device recording indicated that the charter bus driver was “conscious and aware of the hazardous conditions preceding the crash” yet was unable to reduce the speed of the vehicle.

A review of surveillance video taken near the crash site showed the brake lights on the charter bus didn’t light up until it struck the MTA bus.

The investigators attempted to determine whether a rattling sound heard on the GPS recording was the thermos banging on the floorboard. However, they were unable to definitively rule on the matter.

The official “probable cause” of the deadly accident was listed as the charter bus driver’s “unintended acceleration of the motorcoach and inability to brake for reasons that could not be conclusively determined from the information available.”

Following the accident, it was learned that the charter bus driver had previously driven for MTA until he entered a guilty plea for a DUI in 2015 that he got in Connecticut.

But there were also tales about the company’s record. Since 2003, the company has had buses involved in two critical wrecks where three people lost their lives and 64 suffered injuries.

If you suffered an injury in a bus crash, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for your losses and damages.

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