April 10 (UPI) — Police say the driver of a bus that slammed into an overpass on New York’s Southern State Parkway was following non-commercial GPS directions at the time of the crash.
The crash Sunday night sheared off the bus’ roof and seriously injured six passengers, with 37 more receiving minor injuries.
Officials said the 12-foot-tall bus attempted to pass beneath the overpass, which has a clearance of 7 feet, 7 inches.
Officials said the bus showed “no signs of braking, stopping” — and the only warning passengers may have had was to “duck.”
The bus was carrying 38 New York City high school students and five chaperones who’d just returned from a trip to Europe.
Officials said there’s no indication bus driver Troy Gaston had been speeding.
“In my over 20 years of being in Long Island, to the best of my recollection this is probably the first commercial bus on the parkway that’s struck an overpass,” New York State Police Maj. David Candelaria said. “You had over the years several tractor-trailers who hit the overpasses. But it is generally from outside drivers not familiar with the area.”
Gaston was using a GPS “that you buy from a department store,” Candelaria said. Commercial GPS devices alert buses and trucks to road restrictions that a typical GPS device wouldn’t have.
“It was a mother’s worse nightmare getting a call from your child screaming on the side of the road saying that he’s bleeding,” mother Elizabeth Small told Long Island News12.
Other parents say the driver should have known better.
“You would think that driver — there’s signs everywhere — if he drives for a living, these are the things he’s required to know,” father Stephen Martinez said.