Vance: Tour Bus Driver Who Killed Pedestrian Convicted of Manslaughter

A tour bus driver who killed a pedestrian in Hell’s Kitchen while driving drunk has been convicted of manslaughter and homicide.

Victim Timothy White. Photo via ##http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/05/08/philadelphia-man-killed-in-tour-bus-accident-in-new-york-city/##KYW-TV##
Victim Timothy White. Photo via ##http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/05/08/philadelphia-man-killed-in-tour-bus-accident-in-new-york-city/##KYW-TV##

Steve Drappel, now 60, was making a left turn from 47th Street onto Ninth Avenue at around 10 p.m. on May 7, 2011, when he ran over 29-year-old Timothy White, according to published reports and a press release from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.  White, who was in a crosswalk, was dragged for half a block before witnesses alerted Drappel by screaming and banging on the bus.

White was in town from Philadelphia to visit family and was walking to his cousin’s home after dinner, according to a DNAinfo story published the day after the crash.

“He was the perfect son,” his father Robert White, 67, said Sunday from his Pennsylvania home.

The devastated dad said his son had battled health problems and “was an inspiration to all of us.”

“Tim was a hero,” his mom Julia said. “He was a hero to all of us.”

Police found a cup containing vodka next to Drappel’s seat, and an open bottle of vodka in the luggage compartment of the bus, which reports said Drappel admitted was his. His blood alcohol level was .14.

The Post reported that Drappel had been in three crashes since 1997, and had citations for speeding and driving with a suspended license. Drappel was driving a bus owned by TraveLynx, a Florida company, for Chinatown-based tour operator L & L Travel, reports said.

According to the Vance press release, Drappel was convicted this week, following a bench trial in New York State Supreme Court, of second degree vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and two counts of driving while intoxicated.

“Driving while intoxicated is always the wrong decision,” said Vance, in the press release. “Driving a 25-ton bus brings with it the responsibility to protect not only passengers, but also motorists and pedestrians. Steve Drappel endangered the lives of his passengers and took the life of an innocent 29-year-old pedestrian in the process.”

The top charge against Drappel, second degree vehicular manslaughter, is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years, but which can also result in no jail time or probation. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 8.

  • greggzuk

    That act is called first-degree murder – unless, apparently, the deadly weapon of choice is a motor vehicle; to wit: first-degree murder with a motor vehicle as the deadly weapon of choice is prosecuted as second degree “vehicular” manslaughter in this state. Why drunk Drappel is not being held accountable for his actions reminds me of the way folks who steal billions of dollars from decent folk are treated these days – like fellow human beings. In more honest times, both of these types would have been burned at the stake.

  • It is so heart breaking that people refuse to learn that alcohol and vehicles don’t mix

  • Rabi Abonour

    I’m all for punishing drunk drivers, first-degree murder typically requires not only intent but premeditation, does it not?

  • greggzuk

    Driving a deadly weapon while drunk in Midtown Manhattan IS intent and premeditation. Kinda like spewing bullets from a machine gun while walking down the streets – and drunk. What do you reckon that perp would get for a charge? Mmm.

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