Posts Tagged ‘Prosecutors’
Bronx, NY- The driver involved in a deadly bus crash that caused the death of 15 people last year in the Bronx was acquitted of vehicular manslaughter charges, angering the families of those who were killed.
Bus driver Ophadell Williams eagerly awaited the jury’s decision Friday. When they handed down their not guilty verdict Williams was relieved, but the families of those killed were completely shocked.
“This is an outrage,” one of the relatives of the slain passengers cried, according to the New York Daily News, “Fifteen lives were lost and no one is going to pay for it.”
Williams was facing up to fifteen years in jail but he will not be spending any more time behind bars since he was only convicted of aggravated unlicensed use of a vehicle.
Prosecutors for the case asserted that Williams was negligent and drove the charter bus carrying passengers from a Connecticut casino to Chinatown in borough while he was tired, equating his actions to drunk driving.
The accident took place in the early hours of March 12, 2011. Williams lost control of the bus on a Bronx freeway. The bus slammed into an overhead highway sign, flipped on its side, shearing the top of the bus off before it came to a rest at least 250 yards away from the original crash site.
It was a gruesome scene when first responders arrived, at least 18 people were injured and 15 were killed. Some of the injuries were permanently disabling, one man lost both of his arms and another woman will have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
Passengers on the bus told police that Williams was driving erratically prior to the accident which led them to believe the accident was caused by driver exhaustion. However Williams maintained that he was cut off by a passing semi, causing him to lose control, the New York Daily News reported.
The “black box” on the bus indicated that Williams failed to hit the brakes prior to the accident and that led the prosecution to believe Williams had fallen asleep at the wheel. A subsequent National Traffic Safety investigation determined that the accident was caused by driver error.
Williams’ defense attorney was however able to convince the jury that the accident was not caused by criminal negligence, much to the ire of the crash victims and the prosecution.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths in the Bronx and New York City.
Though, Williams has not been convicted of any criminal wrong-doing, the victims of the crash have the option of pursuing a civil case. Filing a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit in civil court won’t bring back a loved one or repair devastating wounds, but it is a way for the victims to get the smallest sense if justice.
Although state statutes don’t allow victims to recover compensation for their mental anguish, they are allowed to recover the costs associated with medical bills, funeral, lost wages and benefits. If a parent is killed, it is possible to also obtain compensation for the training a guidance they would have provided to their children.
Since the issues surrounding a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit are complex, there is a better chance of receiving a just settlement if the victims hire an accident attorney as soon as they are physically able. A civil lawsuit may not be the exact type of justice the families of fatal injury victims are seeking but it is way to hold a careless driver accountable for their actions.
New York, NY- Prosecutors say that Ophadell Williams knew that he was taking risks last March when he decided to drive a tour bus full of passengers even though he was exhausted. His trial for manslaughter began today.
While ferrying a busload of Chinese men and women to the Monahegan Casino in Connecticut, Williams lost control of the tour bus, which traveled 250 yards before running into a sign and shearing off the top. Fifteen people died as result and 18 others were injured.
Williams apparently fell asleep at the wheel and was later charged with manslaughter.
“At the scene lay 13 people in a makeshift morgue, covered up, pulled from the wreckage,” said Assistant District Attorney Gary Weil, “They died instantly, in a horrific crash caused by the reckless and criminally negligent behavior of that man – Ophadell Williams.”
Thirteen people died at the scene, two others succumbed to their injuries later in the hospital. Well over a dozen people were hurt some with serious injuries; one person lost both of his arms as he shielded himself, while another person lost an ear. Weil detailed even more of the horrific injuries for the court.
According to the Washington Post, William’s attorney Patrick Bruno denies his client was fatigued and said outside the court, “I sincerely believe that he had as much sleep as many other people routinely have.”
In June, the NTSB concluded that Williams was fatigued and the bus company failed to provide adequate safety oversight. Their investigation also discovered that Williams was traveling at 78 mph. The bus company was shut down as a result of safety violations.
Bel Air, MD- A Bel Air women has been indicted on charges related to a fatal accident she caused in July of 2011.
Ashley Albers was in court Tuesday to face charges of negligent vehicular homicide involving drugs, negligent vehicular manslaughter and other drug-related offenses.
According to prosecutors Albers was driving northbound on Route 543 when she crossed over the center line and crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle. The driver of that vehicle, Carolyn Dicocco, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Albers and a passenger in her car Alycia Hoffman were also injured and had to be airlifted to a local hospital where they were listed in fair condition.
If convicted, Albers faces a maximum of ten years in jail.
For some traffic accident victims a criminal charge is simply not enough justice, especially if they incurred severe injuries or became disabled as a result. These personal injury victims often turn to a Maryland accident attorney to seek compensation to cover their medical bills and any wages they may have lost.
Auto accidents are preventable, but drivers are often distracted or get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs. An accident attorney will be able to easily prove these individuals were negligent, allowing the injured to get a financial settlement.
Expert accident lawyers will devote their time and energy to a client’s case and make certain they get the money they need, giving them the sense that justice has prevailed.