THE BRONX - A 15th victim of this weekend?s 1-95 tour bus crash died today, as investigators continue their probe into the circumstances of the wreck.
Police say a tour bus was heading back to Chinatown from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut when it tipped onto its side near the Westchester-Bronx border. The bus was sheared end-to-end by a sign pole, creating a gruesome and bloody scene.
Police haven't identified any of the 15 people who were killed, although they say the victim who died this morning was a 70-year-old man.Several people remain hospitalized with injuries, some of them critical. A trauma doctor at Jacobi Medical Center, where four patients from the bus are in intensive care, said it was the ?most extreme traumatic event? he?d ever dealt with.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened an investigation into the accident and is reviewing "black box" data and surveillance video of the bus and its driver.
The bus driver survived the accident and was released from the hospital this morning. Police have said his account of what happened is not consistent with the accounts of eyewitnesses.
Officials say the driver, Ophadell Williams, has a criminal record that includes convictions for manslaughter and grand larceny. Authorities say Williams spent two years in prison for his role in a 1990 stabbing. He was also sent to prison for three more years in 1997 for stealing a check worth more than $83,000.
Some local lawmakers are calling for stricter regulations on the tour bus industry. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has requested that the NTSB investigate the safety practices and regulations currently in place for the tour bus industry.
Schumer noted that the bus company who owned the bus, World Wide Tours, has been cited for several violations over the past few years.
An estimated 2,000 bus trips are chartered to and from New York City each week.
AP wire services contributed to this report.