Investigations Open on Tour Bus Company Crash That Killed Two in New York State

Investigations Open on Tour Bus Company Crash That Killed Two in New York StateA Bedore Tours bus driving from Washington, D.C., to Niagara Falls on the afternoon of July 17 crashed because of a tire blowout, ending in the death of two people and injuries to 35 bus passengers, all tourists from India, reports the Buffalo News. Heading northbound on I-390, the bus ran into fatal difficulties 55 miles southeast of Rochester, New York.

According to the New York State Police, a front tire blew out, causing it to tumble down the embankment of the interstate’s wooded median. The bus overturned after hitting several trees, the news outlet reports. One passenger, 52-year-old New Delhi native, Sakina Kiazar, died at the scene, Reuters reports.

The driver and the 35 injured passengers were transported to six hospitals in the area or they were treated at the scene, according to the Buffalo News. As of Monday, twenty were still hospitalized, Reuters reports, suffering a range of head wounds, internal bleeding and fractures.

Officials flew the most critical of the cases to Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital. Later on, a second passenger, a 66 year-old woman, passed away in a Dansville hospital. Officials are working with the American Red Cross to ensure the Indian tourists are lodged and transported properly once they’re released from the hospital, the News reported.

The driver, 58-year-old John DiNardo, has not been charged. As of Tuesday, July 19, he was listed in guarded condition in an ICU at Strong Memorial. He’s been noted to be a safe driver with a clean driving record. He also has no past tickets or criminal history, according to state police, the news source reports.

Law enforcement, comprised of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit and the New York State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit, concluded that tire fire cause the accident. According to the Reuters report, none of the passengers was wearing a seat belt, though the driver was wearing one.

Members of the New York State Police are concerned about the case’s implications for bus passenger safety, as with any moving traffic violation. Speaking to the outlet, State Police superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “commercial bus enforcement and maintaining bus passenger safety remains a priority for the New York state Police. We are committed to keeping New York’s roadways safe by aggressively enforcing the vehicle and traffic laws.”

When asked if Bedore Tours had any experiences of crashes before, Bedore Tours owner John O’Hear said, “Never, not like this. We lease the tires on our buses. We pay by the mile. So there is no incentive to run a tire past its prime. Our vehicles are also inspected twice a year by the state’s Department of Transportation. Each bus has to stand on its own to pass inspection.” He added that the tour bus tires are replaced regularly.

Reuters reports that the bus accident is just one of many fatal tour bus accidents involving New York tour companies over the past months. March saw 15 casino goers killed in a bus that was driven by a driver with a suspended license. A Sky Express bus operator – previously charged dozens of times with fatigue violations – crashed a bus in May.

More than 7,800 people are injured and 20 people are killed in motorcoach crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s review of accidents from 1999 to 2008. Tour buses are of particular concern. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found that already 323 people have been injured, and 32 people have been killed in tour bus accidents this year, reports the Wall Street Journal.