Wawayanda, New York — An accident unfolded on Thursday, resulting in the loss of two lives and leaving dozens injured as a charter bus carrying members of a Long Island high school band crashed off a New York highway.
The accident occurred just after 1 p.m. on I-84 near the Orange County town of Wawayanda, approximately 45 miles northwest of New York City.
A charter bus carrying 40 students and four adults from Farmingdale High School veered off the highway and tumbled down a 50-foot ravine.
Two adults died in the crash: Gina Pellettiere, the high school’s band instructor, and Ferrari, a retired teacher. Five of the students were transported to area hospitals in critical condition.
Aerial footage of the crash site revealed significant damage to the embankment, with the bus lying on its side and its roof warped.
According to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, preliminary investigations suggest that a faulty front tire likely contributed to the accident.
The tire must be investigated to identify who is responsible for this crash and ensure those affected by this crash receive justice
An annual tradition scarred forever. What should have been a time of camaraderie for these children has now turned into trauma. According to preliminary reports, a faulty tire may be to blame. If this turns out to be accurate, this is unacceptable. Faulty tires don’t just happen. They are the result of someone’s negligence. If this is the case, all parties that failed these students and their beloved teachers must be held accountable.
When accidents caused by tire failure occur, some may think the accident was unavoidable. This is not true. Tires fail because someone messed up. The law is concerned with finding who messed up and holding the appropriate parties accountable for the pain and suffering caused by their actions.
This requires an extensive investigation. From the reports, federal and state agencies will take control of the bus and tire and begin investigating the exact cause of the crash and the actions of the bus company in the days and months prior. This will provide evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the bus company or the tour bus operator.
Unfortunately, if wrongdoing is identified, this would not be an isolated incident. Our firm handled a case very similar to this involving a tour bus transporting 55 passengers near Dallas when the bus’s front tire unexpectedly failed, causing the bus to roll over. Fifteen passengers and many more were injured.
The tour bus operator sought to escape liability, but the evidence was clear that wrongdoing on the part of the bus company led to the tire failing, and our firm successfully held the defendants liable for the financial harm suffered in the crash.
In this case, reports indicate the charter company involved in this accident was subjected to 41 vehicle inspections, 17 of which resulted in some form of safety violation. This is a big deal. Charter buses cannot avoid routine maintenance and repair and then escape liability when an avoidable accident occurs. Inspecting the accident and tire will determine if improper tire repair or maintenance played a role in this tire failing and the ensuing accident.
On the other hand, an investigation may reveal that the bus company did everything it could, yet the tire failed despite its best efforts. This may point to liability on the part of the manufacturer of the tire.
Tire defects accidents are a big problem on our roadways, especially on commercial vehicles.
We recently handled a case involving a crash between a commercial bus and an 18-wheeler that happened in New Mexico. In that crash, the 18-wheeler’s tire failed, causing the driver to lose control and crash head-on with the commercial bus traveling in the opposite direction. Many were killed, and dozens more were injured. After investigating the crash and inspecting the tire, it became clear that the failed tire was defective, causing it to fail prematurely. The defective tire caused the crash and the death of innocent motorists.
Front tire failure on buses is a known issue across the industry, with organizations warning of the danger for years. This is unacceptable. Manufacturers cannot cut corners to save money or fail to implement sufficient quality control processes to ensure safe tire building and then escape liability when their mistakes result in serious injury and death.
There is no question that the women killed in this crash and the young children injured were wholly innocent victims of this accident. Wrongdoing has not been identified at this time, but as the accident is investigated and more facts come to light, all wrongdoers must be held accountable for the pain caused by their actions.
The Ammons Law Firm represents clients nationwide in catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation, with extensive experience in complex auto/tire defect and commercial vehicle cases.
Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. Information contained in this blog was compiled from third-party sources or is the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if false or misleading information is contained in this post.