Did jury get it right in fatal tour bus crash?
(Photos by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 11- The 41-year-old Brooklyn bus driver who was behind the wheel at the deadly tour bus crash on I-95 in 2011, that killed 15 people-- has been acquitted of the most serious charges.
Ophadell Williams walked out of the Bronx Hall of Justice a free man on December 7, after a jury acquitted him of manslaughter and negligent homicide in the March 12, 2011 crash along I-95 at the Bronx border.
The prosecution had tried to prove that Williams was sleep deprived from working two jobs in the days leading up to the crash.
Williams' defense attorney Patrick Bruno maintained his client’s claim that he was cut off in the moments before the crash, but no proof of that was ever produced.
Bruno told reporters that this verdict is, "Saying that if you are going to try and make fatigue, sleepiness a criminal legal issue in a motor vehicle accident, you have a lot, lot more to prove."
Williams was found guilty of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was given 30 days in jail, but the judge freed him for time served. Williams was also ordered to pay $500.
The decision prompted Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson to issue a statement that read in part, "We presented telephone and car rental records which document the many hours, in the days leading up to the crash, that Mr. Williams was awake and active when he should have been getting sufficient rest."
Johnson's statement continued, "There was also forensic evidence which ruled out contact with another vehicle as a cause of the crash. In addition, information retrieved from the "black box" indicated Mr. Williams never attempted to apply the brakes as the bus careened out of control."
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