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Prosecutors: Bus driver in Times Square crash not impaired

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Preliminary drug and alcohol tests on bus driver came back negative, prosecutors say
  • At least 13 people were injured when two tour buses collided in New York's Times Square
  • Prosecutors declined to charge driver William Dalambert pending further investigation
  • Police had earlier accused Dalambert of driving while impaired

New York (CNN) -- Prosecutors say for now, they won't be charging the driver of a double-decker tour bus that collided with another bus in Manhattan's bustling Times Square Tuesday, injuring more than a dozen people.

Police initially charged William Dalambert, 58, of Irvington, New Jersey, with driving while impaired, but preliminary tests did not show any drugs or alcohol in his system.

So, Manhattan prosecutors declined to file charges "until we we have completed our investigation," Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said Thursday. He has been released.

"We are awaiting results of the full toxicology report," she said. "We are taking this matter seriously and prosecutors in the Office's Vehicular Crimes Unit are conducting a thorough investigation."

Two tour buses collided in Times Square Tuesday afternoon.  Two tour buses collided in Times Square Tuesday afternoon.
Two tour buses collided in Times Square Tuesday afternoon. Two tour buses collided in Times Square Tuesday afternoon.
Two tour buses crash in Times Square

Dalambert was driving a bus that struck another double-decker bus on Seventh Avenue, police said.

At least 13 people were injured, one seriously, after the two tourist buses that traverse city neighborhoods collided about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The crash occurred near a normally packed sidewalk next to the TKTS booth at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue at Times Square, police and fire officials said.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation revealed that a Gray Line double-decker tour bus, driven by Dalambert, was traveling southbound on Seventh Avenue and sideswiped a City Sights double-decker tour bus and a GMC Yukon, also traveling southbound on Seventh.

The collision caused the Gray Line tour bus to go up on the sidewalk and strike a traffic light pole, which fell to the sidewalk.

Investigators have clear video showing a bus closest to the sidewalk speeding through the intersection and striking an SUV and another bus that just passed the intersection, according to a law enforcement official who saw the video.

The driver of that bus claimed he was having brake issues, the law enforcement official said. But an examination of the bus revealed no mechanical problems.

By all accounts, the collision could have been worse.

Earthcam video from the scene showed pedestrians running from the crash site moments before a towering pole crashed to the sidewalk, appearing to strike a man in the leg and narrowly missing his head.

A fire official at the scene said the number of injuries was surprisingly low, given the size of the pole.

Times Square is a popular launching spot for the ubiquitous double-decker buses, which take tourists around Manhattan.

After the accident, dozens of tourists stood at what is sometimes called the "Crossroads of the World," taking pictures and video of the crash scene.

CNN's Ray Sanchez, Marisa Marcellino and Donovan Long contributed to this report.

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