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Bus Driver Was Speeding Before Crash: MTA

4:22 PM EST on January 15, 2021

A speeding bus driver failed to negotiate a turn and sent his bus flying off of University Avenue in the Bronx late on Thursday. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The bus driver who drove an Bx35 articulated bus off an overpass in the Bronx on Thursday night — injuring himself and seven passengers and leaving the vehicle dangling over the Cross Bronx Expressway — was speeding, MTA officials said on Friday afternoon.

According to the officials, the 55-year-old driver was heading northbound on E.L. Grant Highway at between 17 and 26 mph as he prepared to make a left turn onto a ramp of the expressway — a turn that should have been made at no more than 5 mph, according to Patrick Warren, MTA chief safety and security officer.

“Speeding is clearly a factor” in the crash, Warren said of the driver, who overshot the entrance ramp and ended up crashing through a safety fence at the northwest corner of University Avenue and the expressway. (Point of information: E.L. Grant Highway changes becomes University north of the expressway.)

Officials said that the bus, which cost about $850,000 and weighs 22 tons, had been checked as recently as Jan. 13, and mechanical problems are not thought to have contributed to the crash, pictures of which went viral early on Friday.

The bus driver, an 11-year veteran on his regular route, passed an NYPD breath test at the scene, but later refused a mandatory drug/alcohol test as the hospital, the officials said, calling the refusal “troubling.” New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said she "would assume" that a criminal investigation is underway (the NYPD merely told Streetsblog that it is still investigating the crash).

The driver suffered a broken jaw, cuts, bruises and pain. The passengers suffered minor injuries when they were thrown forward, but MTA officials did not have specific information.

The bus was all cleaned up in time for Friday's morning rush, the MTA said.

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