NJ Bus Crash: Company Allegedly Unauthorized To Work In US

  on October 09 2012 3:47 PM

Three passengers are still hospitalized after a Canadian tour bus overturned on a New Jersey interstate exit ramp, reports the Associated Press. The N.J. bus crash occurred Saturday, injuring almost two dozen people.

A spokeswoman at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson said the three passengers still  hospitalized are in “fair condition,” but wouldn’t divulge any other information to the AP.  

Bus driver Neville Larmond of Toronto said another driver cut him off on an exit ramp from eastbound Interstate 80 in Wayne, according to USA Today. The 51-year-old driver said that after the bus was cut off, it slid down an embankment before falling over.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is attempting to find out if the company that rented the bus, Cynthia’s Bus Tour, was legally allowed to operate in the United States.

The Globe and Mail of Toronto reports that calls to Cynthia’s Bus Tour for comment were not answered.  Police said the bus had been rented out to Cynthia’s by AVM Max 2000 Chartered Bus Services Inc., which the Toronto Star states is not authorized to operate in the U.S. under the FMCSA.

A statement released Tuesday reveals that Cynthia’s Bus Tour and AVM Max 2000 are the same company.

"While AVM Max 2000 Charter Services has a satisfactory safety rating, it does not have the authority to operate in the U.S. due to an unresolved lapse in its insurance coverage," the FMCSA stated in an email Monday, reports the Globe and Mail. "This compliance violation is one of the factors we will evaluate as part of our post-crash investigation of the carrier and driver.”

The bus was headed from Toronto to New York City, and the 57 passengers aboard had almost reached their destination before the crash. The Wall Street Journal notes that many bus passengers were members of a Seventh-day Adventist church from Toronto.

“It was so sudden,” Deanne Joseph told the Star. “I was sitting on the fifth row on the left side when it went around the corner and just lost control.”

This is the latest of a string of serious bus accidents on U.S. highways, notes the Washington Post.

On March 12, 2011, a bus full of gamblers returning to New York City from a Connecticut casino hit a guard rail in the Bronx. The bus fell over, hit a signpost that cut the top off and 15 passengers were killed. The driver is currently on trial for manslaughter.

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