Charter buses are a safe and cost-effective way to travel, statistics point out that this method of inter and intra-state travel is safer than traveling by personal vehicle or even airplane. The driver of a charter bus must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the state in which they reside. Charter buses must also undergo stringent government safety inspections in order to remain on the road.
The Ithaca Voice reports on the charges the driver of a Big Red Bullet bus is facing after a fatal accident last year.
50-year-old Charles Dwight Dixon was driving a Big Red Bullet bus on the route from Ithaca to New York City on October 14th, 2018. The bus veered off I-380 near Covington Township, Pennsylvania and struck several trees.
Rebecca Blanco, a 2017 graduate of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, was killed in the crash. Another passenger had to be airlifted from the scene with serious injuries. Several others suffered from injuries ranging from a broken leg, a broken neck, and severe bruising.
Dixon relayed to police that he fell asleep at the wheel. A blood test revealed traces of cocaine.
Dixon was initially charged with a total of 33 criminal counts for the accident. At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, a judge determined that enough evidence existed to try Dixon on 26 of the original charges.
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These charges include homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, 12 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle, 12 counts of recklessly endangering another person, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, among others. The charges that were dropped included 7 counts of aggravated assault.
For 15 minutes before the crash, Blanco and other motorists had been texting and calling 911 to report the unsafe driving of Dixon. A drug recognition expert at the scene determined that Dixon was under the influence of pain medication and a stimulant.
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