March 20, 2011 in Nation/World

Tour buses sidelined in New York sting

Michael Gormley Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. – A sting operation by New York state transportation investigators and law enforcement a week after a horrific fatal tour bus crash included a single stop in Manhattan in which all 14 tour buses pulled over were ordered off the road, a state official familiar with the investigation said Saturday.

State investigators reported nine “major issues” Friday night with the drivers, including lack of an updated log book required to show how long a driver has been behind the wheel, the official told the Associated Press. The state Department of Transportation investigators found 10 major vehicle issues and 40 minor infractions, the official said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the continuing sting operation.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Deb Rausch confirmed to the Associated Press that the 14 buses stopped Friday were put out of service because of violations against the driver and concerns about the safety of the buses.

“This is quite extraordinary,” she said.

The bus that crashed was returning March 12 to Manhattan’s Chinatown from an overnight trip to a Connecticut casino when it tipped over and was sliced by a pole along the road.

DMV records in that case indicate that the bus driver used aliases under which his driving privileges were suspended.

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