A federal agency’s preliminary probe into last month’s deadly Flushing bus crash revealed that the charter bus driver killed in the wreck drove through a red light before colliding with an MTA passenger bus.
According to the report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the 38-passenger Q20 MTA transit bus was traveling northbound on Main Street approaching Northern Boulevard at around 6:16 a.m. on Sept. 18. At the intersection, a traffic signal was displaying a green right-turn arrow for the Q20 bus.
At the same time, the 56-passenger Dahlia Group Inc. charter bus — driven by Raymond Mong — was traveling eastbound on Northern Boulevard. As the MTA bus began to turn right onto Northern Boulevard, the charter bus ignored the red light and rammed into the rear of the Q20 bus, the force of the collision causing the Q20 bus to make a 180-degree turn, investigators determined. Investigators believe Mong was traveling well above the posted speed limit.
Mong was the only passenger inside of the charter bus. The MTA bus contained a driver and 16 passengers. Three pedestrians were also stuck, with one sustaining fatal injuries.
After impact, the MTA bus also struck and pushed a parked car into another, which contained a driver and front-seat passenger. The charter bus crossed over the sidewalk and into a building on the corner of the intersection. Both vehicles then came to rest.
A total of 16 individuals involved in the incident sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious. Mong along with a pedestrian and an MTA bus passenger died in the collision.
The investigation report is preliminary. The NTSB is still working to determine probable cause and plans to issue safety recommendations to prevent similar future crashes.
An investigation into Mong after the crash revealed that he had been an MTA bus driver but was fired in 2015 after being personally involved in a three-car collision in Connecticut. He was subsequently convicted on charges including driving under the influence.
The Flushing-based Dahlia Group Inc. also placed No. 1 on a list of New York City’s most dangerous charter bus operators. The report was released a few weeks after the Sept. 18 incident.