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Bronx Tour Bus Crash Driver Speaks, Appears To Have Anxiety Attack

Ophadell Williams Says He's 'Hurt By The Whole Situation'
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Ophadell Williams

Ophadell Williams (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) – On Monday the driver in the tragic tour bus crash that killed 15 people in the Bronx broke his silence.

Ophadell Williams told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman outside of his home in Brooklyn that he’s having a difficult time.

Williams appeared to have an anxiety attack Monday just as his lawyer was starting to say the driver went back to help passengers immediately following the March 12 wreck on I-95.

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Attorney Howard Lee said Williams “didn’t have the idea of every man for himself. He went to the back of the bus to help start trying to take some of those passengers out and he got some of those passengers out so it’s not like he didn’t have any regard for human life.”

Just then Williams said, “I’m having difficulty breathing… I’m hurt. I’m really hurt. I’m hurt about the whole situation.”

Williams then went back inside. Guzman then turned to his wife.

“I’m with him at night when he’s crying. I’m with him at night with the nightmares. You know, it’s terrible for all. It’s terrible for all of us,” Holly Williams said.

And by “all” she made clear she meant the passengers and their families as well. In all, 32 people besides Williams were on that bus and 15 were killed. And the focus of the investigation has been on Williams — on how someone who did time for manslaughter and who may have lied on his application got a license to drive a tour bus.

“It appears that the authorities are not interested in fact-finding. They’re more interested in assigning blame,” Lee said.

Williams’ lawyer said Williams is sticking to what he first told investigators: that he was cut off by a tractor-trailer, which caused him to swerve. Six victims are still at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx. Two are in critical condition. The last victim at St. Barnabas left that hospital on Monday.

Williams is facing criminal charges as New York State continues a bus safety crackdown.

Over the last three days 164 buses were pulled over and inspected, with 41 found to have serious driver or vehicle violations, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.

Investigators have said Williams’ license was suspended over infractions he received under the alias, “Eric Williams.” Williams’ attorney has said the driver was unaware that he didn’t have a valid license.

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