NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The driver of a double-decker tour bus that was involved in a crash with another bus in Times Square, injuring 14 people, was arrested Wednesday, but authorities have not decided whether to prosecute.
William Dalambert, 58, of Irvington, New Jersey, has been charged with driving while ability impaired.
But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said preliminary drug and alcohol tests came back negative, and the office will not decide whether to prosecute in the case until the full toxicology report is complete.
“We are taking this matter seriously and prosecutors in the Office’s Vehicular Crimes Unit are conducting a thorough investigation,” the DA’s office said in a statement.
Just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dalambert was driving a Gray Line tour bus when he struck a parked double-decker CitySights bus at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, police said.
Witnesses said the Gray Line bus rolled into the area at a high speed, hitting the second bus and toppling a traffic light, causing the metal pole to snap and tumble on a pedestrian strip.
The crash happened near the TKTS discount Broadway ticket booth, which was packed with people at the time.
“It was loud enough that everybody was running,” said witness Edward Miller. “Everybody was running for cover.”
Three of the injured were reported to be in serious but stable condition. Fire Department officials say none of the injuries are life-threatening.
Among those hurt was Lila Meredith, a little girl from Brisbane, Australia. Her father spoke with CBS 2 moments before he got into an ambulance.
“The lamppost supports fell on her and crushed her and pushed her stroller,” Martin Meredith said.
FDNY Deputy Chief Roger Sakowich said the falling light post caused most of the injuries to people standing in the area. He said some of the injuries were also caused by flying debris from the light and the buses.
“We are very, very fortunate there weren’t many more injuries,” Sakowich said. “The size of that light pole with the street light on it could have done a lot more damage. We’re very lucky.”
Police said Dalambert passed a Breathalyzer test. But he failed two field sobriety tests, meaning he could have been on something other than alcohol, sources told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
It was still not clear what substance was suspected to be involved. As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, Dalambert voluntarily provided blood and urine samples.
In a statement, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission said Dalambert is a New Jersey licensed commercial driver with no active points on his record.
The MVC said he has “20 administrative suspensions dating back to June, 1993 that began with problems with his vehicle insurance.”
“His most recent violations are for driving while using a cell phone from a July 23, 2013 incident in East Orange and driving without a license/registration/insurance in Irvington on December 1, 2013,” the MVC said in the statement.
The driver of the other bus is not facing any charges.
Both buses are owned and operated by Twin America. The company said it is cooperating with the investigation.
“Twin America is committed to the highest standards of safety and customer service and in addition to cooperating with local authorities, we are simultaneously conducting a thorough internal review of our safety rules and driver protocols,” the company said in a statement.
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