Driver in fatal tour bus crash pleads not guilty

BROOKLYN - The driver of a tour bus that crashed off I-95 in The Bronx pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges today.

Ophadell Williams, of Brooklyn, is accused of falling asleep at the wheel, killing 15 people and injuring several others in March.

Investigators say that the bus was traveling at almost 80 mph at the time of the crash, but Williams, who originally lied about his identity, has maintained that the bus was clipped by a tractor-trailer before flipping over. An investigation into the crash showed no evidence to support that claim.

Nine men and six women were killed. Those who survived say that Williams fell asleep while driving them back from Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. The trip was organized by a Brooklyn-based company called World Wide Travel.

Williams, who has been charged at least three times with driving without a license, also has a criminal history that includes manslaughter and larceny, as well as multiple traffic violations.

As a result of the accident, a large investigation was conducted into the discount tour bus industry, which has since led to the arrests of a number of other drivers.

NTSB: Tour bus not hit before fatal Bronx crash2nd lawsuit filed over BX tour bus crash BK tour bus driver's license suspended after crash

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