NTSB: Bus driver in fatal crash tested positive for pot
May 13, 1999
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- The driver of a tour bus that crashed on Mother's Day, killing 22 people headed for a gambling casino outing in Mississippi, tested positive for marijuana in his blood and urine, federal investigators said Thursday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the driver, Frank Bedell, 46, was fired from a previous job for drug use. Bedell, who suffered from diabetes and heart disease, was seriously injured in the crash.
Bedell had been turned down for a job with Greyhound in April 1997 after testing positive for cocaine, but was hired by Custom Bus Charters later that year and passed a pre-employment drug test and random tests later, the NTSB said earlier this week.
Asked how recently Bedell had been smoking marijuana, an NTSB spokesman said "fairly recent. We think it's safe to say within 24 hours."
The spokesman said Bedell also had been treated at a hospital the night before the accident for dehydration and low blood pressure.
The bus was chartered by a nursing home in La Place, Louisiana, and most of the victims were elderly. The vehicle veered across three lanes of Interstate 610 in New Orleans on Sunday, crashing through a fence and into a concrete wall. The front end of the bus was crushed.
It was the worst traffic accident in the city's history.
Investigator: Driver of crashed bus medically unfit
National Transportation Safety Board
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