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Driver Dies In Brooklyn Private Bus Crash
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« on: November 18, 2006, 11:58:55 PM »

Driver Dies In Brooklyn Bus Crash - Private Bus Hit Utility Pole
WCBS-TV - AP - November 18 2006

A driver is dead and dozens of passengers were injured after a private bus hit a utility pole in Brooklyn. After the wreck, 26 people were taken to area hospitals, most suffering from minor cuts and bruises. Police were investigating the possibility that the 66-year-old driver's death was due to a medical problem, rather than the collision.

The accident happened at around 6:15 p.m. in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. Police said the bus was traveling westbound on Avenue U when it crossed over into eastbound traffic and struck the pole. There were 42 people on board.
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2006, 05:09:27 AM »

Atlantic City Bound Bus Driver Dies
Ethan Rouen And Rich Schapiro - Daily News - November 19 2006

The driver of a packed Atlantic City-bound bus suffered a fatal heart attack in Brooklyn yesterday - but his lucky passengers escaped with only minor injuries, police sources said. The vehicle, carrying 41 members of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club of Queens, slammed into a utility pole at Bragg St. and Avenue U in Marine Park about 6:15 p.m., cops said. "I went flying," Lew Simon, the Democratic district leader from Far Rockaway, told the Daily News while on his way to the hospital with chest pains. "I hurt my leg, my neck, my back....I've never experienced anything like this."

After the driver was stricken, the westbound 1987 Omnibus suddenly crossed over into the oncoming lane on Avenue U and struck the pole, cops said. "It was a big boom," said Roseann Battista, 42, the owner of nearby Roseann's Kitchen, who raced to the damaged bus. She found the driver, identified by cops as Clyde McPhater, 66, of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, slumped over the steering wheel, but the passengers appeared okay, she said. "They were upset, but nobody was screaming or anything like that," Battista said.

McPhater was rushed to Beth Israel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Twenty-five passengers were taken to area hospitals for chest pains, bumps and minor cuts, police said. Sixteen other passengers were treated at the scene, cops said. The bus company, Caribbean and American Tours Corp., could not be reached for comment.
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2006, 10:15:17 AM »

Bus' Deadly Trip - Crashes After Driver Dies At Wheel
Laura Blue, Erin Calabrese & Jennifer Fermino - The NY Post - November 19 2006

A packed bus that left Queens last night for an evening of gambling in Atlantic City crashed into a telephone pole when the driver died behind the wheel, cops said. Clyde McPhater, 66, suffered a heart attack right before the 6:15 p.m. accident near Avenue U and Bragg Street in Brooklyn. "He was just a loving person," said his widow, who did not want to give her name.

The 25-year career driver from Brooklyn - who served nine years in the Army - had never had any serious traffic violations, she said. The memory of "his affection, his love, and his concern" will stay with her, she said.

More than two dozen of the 42 people on board were sent to five area hospitals following the accident. None of the injuries are reported to be serious. Paramedics treated another 16 people at the scene. One of those injured was Lew Simon, a Democratic district leader from Queens. It was his group, the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, that sponsored the trip. "I praised God that I was alive and that my family was OK," said passenger Sandra Trammel, from Queens. "I've never been through anything like this before." Ironically, she said, the trip started with a prayer for protection, she said. "Everybody said a little prayer that we get there. 'Just get us safe and let everyone win a lot of money and have fun,' " Trammel recalled. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves when they took off, she said. One organizer had begun to collect money for a raffle when trouble hit. "All of a sudden the bus swerved," she said. "It hit the pole."

Passengers, many of whom were elderly, were jerked out of their seats and some people went flying, she said. "The lady next to me busted her nose," said Trammel. "The lady across from me passed out." One witness, Roberta Strickland, said the sound of screeching brakes alerted her to the accident. "You could hear he was trying to slow down the best he could," said Strickland, who was working as a waitress at the nearby Foursome Restaurant. "He was trying to save the other people, which was brave of him."

Medics ready gurneys to take the injured off a charter bus that crashed into a pole in Marine Park last night.November 19, 2006:
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2006, 08:53:39 PM »

I wonder when was the bus last inspected by the DOT?
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2006, 07:04:27 PM »

Bus Loaded With Seniors Crashes Into Ave. U Pole - Driver Suffers Heart Attack Behind the Wheel
Tom Tracy - The Kings Courier - November 24 2006

Riders hoping for a wild night of gambling in Atlantic City found themselves clawing their armrests when their bus slammed into a utility pole at the corner of Bragg Street and Avenue U. Police said that over two dozen passengers on the 1987 Omnibus were taken to area hospitals after the 66-year-old driver succumbed to a heart attack while motoring westbound on Avenue U. Most of the passengers, officials said, were senior citizens.

Police said that the driver, identified as Clyde McPhater of the 900 block of Bergen Street, owned the bus that he had chartered to a political club in Rockaway, Queens on the night of November 18.  Passengers told police that their trip had just started that night when McPhater’s heart attack hit at 6:15 p.m.

Witnesses said that the bus was rolling down Avenue U when it listed to the right into eastbound traffic. McPhater tried to slow the bus down – witnesses claimed they heard the squeal of the breaks — but the bus did not stop in time, slamming into the light pole head-on.

Paramedics rushed McPhater to Beth Israel Medical Center at Kings Highway, where he died. Police said that out of the 42 passengers on the bus at the time, 24 were taken to area hospitals suffering from minor injuries and ailments including cuts, bruises, and asthma and chest pains.  The remaining 16 passengers were treated at the scene, officials said.

Passengers told reporters that there wasn’t a hint that McPhater was suffering from a heart attack.  In fact, one of the organizers on the trip was about to collect money for a raffle when the bus began to veer to its side, heading toward the utility pole.  McPhater, officials said, had a clean driver’s record. The 66-year-old, who spent nine years in the U.S. Army, had been driving for over 25 years, friends and colleagues said.

Police said that the bus was traveling down Avenue U because it wasn’t allowed to travel along the Belt Parkway, which prohibits any commercial traffic.  Although the investigation into this incident is continuing, it isn’t believed that anything criminal led to the tragic accident, officials said.
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