A commercial bus driver faces 33 criminal charges in connection with a Pennsylvania bus crash that killed a 33-year-old Cornell graduate and injured a dozen others.
Charles Dwight Dixon, 50, of Bronx, New York, was behind the wheel of the Big Red Bullet motor coach when it drove off the side of I-380 near Scranton and crashed in a wooded area. The impact killed Rebecca Blanco, a California transplant who last year graduated from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and lived in New York City.
At least 14 people were on the bus at the time of the crash. All the passengers were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The 33 charges against the bus driver were filed in the Pennsylvania District Court in Lackawanna County. In addition to one charge each of homicide by vehicle and homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, authorities charged Mr. Dixon with one count each of involuntary manslaughter; disregarding traffic lane; careless driving; aggravated assault while driving under the influence; reckless driving; DUI of a controlled substance (metabolite), and operating unsafe equipment.
The bus driver also faces 12 counts each of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault by vehicle. He told police investigating the crash that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, according to The Ithaca Voice.
The bus was headed to New York City from Ithaca when it crashed. According to the bus company’s website, the Big Red Bullet bus operates rides between Ithaca and New York City six days a week.
Covington Township Fire Chief Brad Jones, who was one of the responders at the scene of the bus crash, told Scranton’s WNEP Channel 16 that he hopes Ms. Blanco’s family gets justice.
“These vehicles that are 10 times larger than the normal car are being operated by people who shouldn’t be operating them,” Chief Jones told WNEP. “I do hope the family gets some kind of closure from this. I hope they get whatever they can possibly get from the company, but it doesn’t bring her back.”