Bus co. involved in fatal Queens crash has record of unsafe driving


The bus company involved in a fatal crash in Queens Monday morning has a record of dangerous driving, according to federal regulators.

Queens-based Dahlia Group Inc. has a worse on-road performance than 83 percent of motor carriers in the same safety event group, according to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration data. The company has received seven unsafe driving violations from the administration since Sept. 5 of 2015.

At about 6:15 a.m., a Dahlia driver struck an MTA bus in Flushing, Queens, the NYPD said. Three people – a pedestrain, an MTA rider and the Dahlia driver – died as a result, and 16 more were injured.

Video obtained by ABC7 appears to show the charter bus driver running a red light as it headed east on Northern Boulevard, plowing into a turning MTA bus on the Q20 route at the corner of Main Street.

The crash sent both buses spinning. The Dahlia charter bus careened into the Kennedy Fried Chicken on the corner, causing “substantial” damage and sparking a small fire that was quickly extinguished, officials said.

“Just shocking – you see the scene over there,” de Blasio said at a news briefing near the intersection. “Hard to compare to anything I’ve ever seen – the sheer destruction from the impact of this collision.”

Of Dahlia’s seven most recent unsafe driving violations, four were for speeding, according to the federal regulators. Two of those speeding violations were given to the company for buses driving 15 or more miles above the speed limit.

While officials pieced together the cause of the crash, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said he was concerned about speed, given the state of the two buses involved.

“As we’ve observed these buses spun around,” said Lhota. “That requires an enormous amount of speed.”

Dahlia’s most recent violation was given on July 18, for a bus driver who failed to obey a traffic control device in Delaware.

In February of last year, one person was killed and 36 more were injured when a Dahlia bus flipped onto its side during a trip to Mohegan Sun Casino, according to federal regulators. The bus was traveling on a snow-covered Interstate 95 in Madison, Connecticut, at the time.

When contacted over the phone, a representative from Dahlia hung up as an AmNewYork reporter identified himself.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday afternoon that it is sending a team to investigate the crash.

 

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