NEW YORK (AP) _ A 74-year-old woman who survived the tour bus crash that killed 15 people in New York City earlier this month claims the driver fell asleep and was speeding during the drive back from a Connecticut casino.
Yuke Chue Lo, of Manhattan, made the allegations in a lawsuit against driver Ophadell Williams and the bus company, World Wide Tours. It’s the first known lawsuit stemming from the crash; more are likely to follow.
Lo’s lawyer, Andrew Finkelstein, said Wednesday that Lo suffered a fractured skull and a brain injury when the bus flipped over and was ripped apart by a sign pole early on March 12. He said Lo underwent several surgeries before being released this week from St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. She is seeking $20 million in damages, he said.
Messages left at World Wide and at Williams’ home were not immediately answered. Williams has not been charged in the crash.
Finkelstein said Lo told him that Williams was “driving erratically, moving back and forth at excessive speed.” He said the bus company is being sued because it engaged in “reckless conduct in failing to properly hire, train and oversee” its drivers.
State police said soon after the crash that witnesses reported the driver had been speeding. And state officials say they have evidence of false statements from Williams.
Williams, in his only public comments since the crash, told NBC’s New York affiliate on Monday that he was “having a difficult time.” He said he was having difficulty breathing and was “really hurt about the whole situation.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)