A tour bus, returning to Chinatown from a Connecticut casino, crashed on Saturday killing at least fourteen people, according to a New York Fire Department spokesman.
The horrific accident happened just after 5:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the New England Thruway near the Hutchinson River Parkway.
Among the 32 passengers, 14 were killed and 19 were injured, five of them critically. They were taken to St. Barnabas and Jacobi hospitals.
At a news conference on Saturday evening, State police Major Michael Kopy said, “The crash is being handled “as if it is a criminal investigation.”
"It will take a long period of time to determine what, if any, criminal acts may have occurred here," he said.
The driver was identified as Ophadel Williams, 40, of Brooklyn. He was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The bus driver’s blood was tested for alcohol and drugs, and the results are pending.
The tour bus lost control as it attempted to avoid a tractor trailer at the New York City border, headed for Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. The tractor trailer driver kept going. Meanwhile the tour bus eventually rolled onto its right side. Its roof was sheared off by an exit sign pole.
"In an effort to avoid that activity, the bus driver swerved all over to the right, struck the guardrail (and) the bus goes down along the guardrail," said NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Police are still looking for the tractor trailer, which did not stop and fled the scene.