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Brooklyn bus accident claims life of Canarsie woman

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

People sometimes suffer serious, but not life-threatening injuries after car accidents. Sometimes they even walk away. This is not usually true of bus accidents, as a Brooklyn husband learned on Friday under tragic circumstancesw.

A Canarsie man who watched his 47-year-old wife die after she was hit by a bus says that the bus driver went through a stop sign. The man, who had driven his wife to the stop where she caught the B103 express bus to Manhattan, watched as she got out of the car and crossed the street.

“The white charter bus made the left from Avenue K onto 105th St., and didn’t stop at the stop sign,” her husband said. I had my window down, looking. He just turned and hit her.” The woman died underneath the bus before emergency responders arrived. Passengers on the bus were uninjured.

Investigators have found no evidence that the driver violated any traffic laws. However, the woman’s husband said that the driver cowered inside the bus, just like people do when they know they have done something. According to the husband, the driver just stayed in the bus and didn’t get out to see what had happened. A witness reported that she had to knock on the bus door to get the driver’s attention and find out whether he was OK. Nevertheless, police say that they do not expect to charge the driver, although the investigation is ongoing.

The charter bus company is Rides Unlimited, based in Hauppauge. No one there responded to requests for a comment.

The woman who died is the mother of two adult sons who reportedly called her mother every day.

Source: Daily News, “A kiss before dying: Canarsie woman killed in early morning crash,” Jan. 25, 2013.

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Yet another casino bus crash on I-95

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Monday, July 9th, 2012

We’ve heard this story before. A bus returning from a trip to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut crashed on I-95 in New Rochelle enroute to Queens where 23 passengers had boarded the Star Tag bus the day before.

At about 6:20 AM on July 4, the bus hit the median, swerved to the left, careened to the right and slid along the wall at the edge of the shoulder for about 500 feet. All passengers and the driver were transported to nearby hospitals with minor injuries.

The state police noted that no other vehicles were involved and that the driver was not impaired at the time of the crash. However, it appeared that he was driving too fast for conditions on the rain slicked roadway. Star Tag Inc. received four citations in the past two years for unsafe driving. Additionally, every inspection performed on the company’s buses has revealed maintenance problems.

The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) shut down 26 low cost bus companies on the East Coast recently in the wake of several fatal bus crashes involving casino buses. The worst also occurred on I-95, close to the Westchester-Bronx line and just two miles from the July 4 crash. Fifteen people died when the fatigued driver lost control of the bus and rolled over. The bus was split open by a sign stanchion as it slid. In addition to the 15 deaths, 19 people were injured, five of them critically.

Like passengers in the Bronx accident, many of the people involved in the New Rochelle crash did not speak English, and passengers could communicate with police only through hospital interpreters.

An investigation into the accident is continuing.

Source: Huffington Post, “Casino Bus Crash North Of NYC Sends 24 To The Hospital,” by Samantha Gross, July 4, 2012


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Unsafe Intersections See Two Fatal Bus Accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the website crashstat.com, the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Union Street is the fifth most dangerous intersection in the city of New York for senior pedestrians and bicyclists. This was recently reinforced by the death of a young woman who was hit by an out of service Q44 bus at this intersection, making hers the second pedestrian death within 24 hours.

The bus apparently made a wide right turn onto Northern Boulevard. The pedestrian, Meilan Jin, was pronounced dead at the scene. This intersection has seen at least 23 other pedestrian accidents between 1995 and 2009. The second pedestrian death occurred in Manhattan at the corner of 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. An M60 bus travelling west on 125th Street hit Willie Gomez, who died at St. Luke’s hospital.

Authorities at the New York City Department of Transportation say that the accident rate at the Northern Boulevard crash site has declined and that the last fatality was in 2008. They point to countdown signals and the reduction in the distance pedestrians must walk to cross the street successfully. The St. Nicholas and 125th Street accident has been the scene of 52 pedestrian and bicycle accidents since 1995, none of them fatal.

Source: New York Times, “Two Pedestrians Are Fatally Struck by City Buses,” by Andy Newman, Feb. 23, 2012.

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Fatal Accidents in the Curbside Bus Industry

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

The low-cost bus industry generally has a good safety record. However, when accidents do occur, they are more likely to involve fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently found that this part of the transportation section had a fatal accident rate seven times higher than well-known carriers such as Greyhound.

Low-cost buses, also known as curbside buses because they pick up and discharge passengers on the street rather than in terminals, got their start by offering fares as low as $1 per seat between East Coast Chinatowns. Such buses now provide inexpensive transportation to casinos and operate scheduled service between major cities throughout the United States. They are able to offer the intercity fares because they do not pay terminal fees and have few other overhead costs.

This part of the transportation industry has proven difficult for the government to monitor. Managers and drivers frequently do not speak English, and records are kept in other languages. They sell tickets online, which exempts them from some types of regulation. Because they do not stop at established terminals, it is harder for inspectors to monitor equipment. Moreover, there have been instances of companies being dissolved and re-established under other names or in other states, making it difficult for regulators to take action after safety violations are discovered.

A casino bus crashed in the Bronx in March of 2011, killing 15 people as it returned from the Mohegan Sun Casino. This cash triggered the NTSB report, which was requested by members of the New York congressional delegation.

Source: The New York Times, “High Fatality Rate Found for Low-Cost Buses“, by Michael M. Grynbaum, Oct. 31, 2011.


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Fatal New York accident on I-95 caused by lack of regulations

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Each year, millions of individuals ride on discount tour busses. However, the federal government has very few regulations to protect the safety of those individuals. Passengers are not required to wear seatbelts, and the few safety rules that are enforced are based on inaccurate driver logbooks.

After a discount bus caused a fatal accident on I-95, New York has focused an increasing amount of attention to the safety issues involved with the popular form of transportation.

The tour bus accident claimed the lives of 15 individuals. Now, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine whether the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is doing enough to ensure the safety of passengers.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, buses must follow basic safety regulations and be driven by individuals who drive no more than 10 hours during a 15-hour workday. State officials enforce the rules randomly, usually at common chartered bus destinations such as casinos and amusement parks.

In order to drive a discount tour bus, individuals must only acquire a commercial driver’s license, which some say is too easy to obtain.

The driver of the bus involved in the I-95 crash had multiple run-ins with the law, including a manslaughter charge from 1990 and a charge for driving with a suspended license in 2003. The man also spent four years in prison after he was convicted of stealing nearly $84,000.

Although various agencies in New York are now looking into regulations to improve the safety of passengers on discount busses, their efforts come a little late. Hopefully they will be able to implement changes before the lack of regulations injures more innocent victims.

Source: The New York Times, “Lax Rules for Discount Buses Cited After I-95 Crash,” Michael M. Grynbaum and Patrick McGeehan, 14 March 2011

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New York Bus Crashes, Injuring More than 20 Passengers

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, June 25th, 2010

A New York bus carrying passengers bound for a casino on the Jersey Shore crashed yesterday morning, rolling through two vehicles before coming to a final, jarring halt at a retaining wall. Of the 50 individuals riding to the Tropicana Casino and Resort, nearly half were injured.

The driver, Chin Cheung Pang, was hurled through the bus’s front windshield during the impact. Based on the severity of his injuries, investigators initially believed that he had been run over by the bus. They later determined that his injuries were all suffered when he went through the glass.

He withstood severe injury to his arms and shoulder during the bus accident and, even after undergoing surgery, remains in critical condition.

Police are expected to attempt to recreate the accident sometime next week, but it is believed that Pang, traveling at a high speed, did not see that traffic had stopped. When he slammed on the brakes, the bus skidded forward, hitting two of the vehicles in its path and smashing into the retaining wall.

Investigators will also be looking at the bus’s data recorder, much like a plane’s black box, for more clues. Of the 20-some passengers sent to the hospital with injuries, a handful remains in intensive care.

It is almost certain that many more of the passengers involved in the crash will suffer some effects, such as whiplash. While no personal injury lawsuits have been filed yet, such a development seems likely given the circumstances.

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