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Fifteen people were killed this weekend when a bus, shuttling passengers between New York City and Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, slammed into a guardrail and flipped onto its side before skidding 480 feet.
The driver claims the crash was initiated when a tractor-trailer clipped the bus. The police think otherwise.
The driver, Ophadell Williams, left Mohegan Sun Casino early Saturday morning on only four hours of sleep, reports the New York Daily News. One of the few survivors of the deadly crash, he told police that he was doing fine until he was sideswiped by a big rig. The driver of the rig, backed up by surviving passengers and another witness, claims otherwise.
Williams was driving erratically when he hit something and swerved off the road, the trucker and other witnesses told the Post Wire Services. There are also allegations that he kept dozing off at the wheel.
If Williams turns out to be lying, he and his company are likely to be hit with a few dozen lawsuits. Speeding and falling asleep at the wheel are classic cases of negligence. Because the company was also contracted to carry passengers, it owed a higher duty of care to its patrons--more than an ordinary person driving a friend. Williams could also be on the hook criminally for lying to police, which is at least a misdemeanor.
At this point, police are investigating whether or not Williams' story is true. A black box and on-board video camera, according to the New York Daily News, will tell investigators more about what happened on the way back from Mohegan Sun Casino. The paper also reports that officials are closely checking the tractor-trailer for any signs that it collided with the bus.