At a casino, winning depends on luck.  A split second can mean the difference between winning and losing.  Yesterday it meant the difference between life and death in a horrific bus accident that ended the lives of many who were on their way back home from a casino.  31 passengers were returning to New York’s Chinatown, when a tractor trailer or large truck clipped the World Wide Tours bus just as it entered New York City on a trip from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.  The bus slid into a sign pole that sheared it end to end, killing 14 people and leaving others injured in a horrific scene of blood, jumbled bodies and shattered glass.

The crash happened at 5.35 am on Saturday, while some of the 31 passengers were still asleep. The bus scraped along the highway’s guard rail for 90 meters, then toppled and crashed into the support pole for a highway sign indicating the exit for the Hutchinson Parkway.

The pole peeled off the roof of the bus all the way to the back tires. Most passengers were hurled to the front of the bus on impact, fire department chief Edward Kilduff said.

However contrary to the driver’s statement state police said witnesses told them the driver was speeding before Saturday morning’s crash on Interstate 95.  He said the driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and blood had been drawn for analysis. At this point it appears that the operator lost control of the vehicle for what is as yet an undetermined reason.  Sometimes driver’s of overnight charter busses suffer from driver fatigue.

Major Michael Kopy, of the state police, told news media on Saturday night that the crash was being handled “as if it is a criminal investigation”, adding: “It will take a long period of time to determine what, if any, criminal acts may have occurred here.”

Unfortunately in the time that it takes to find out what happened during the accident many families will be mourning the sudden loss of their loved ones.  The many injured will also be incurring large medical bills while trying to cope with their injuries and trying to get their lives back to normal.

The NYPD’s Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Saturday that the truck, which did not stop after the crash, was in the lane to the left of the bus, although it was unclear whether the two vehicles touched.

State police said they were interviewing the driver of a big rig that was in the area at the time of the crash. They said the trailer had been found on Long Island, New York State, and the tractor was in Westchester County, about 50 miles away. Both were being inspected.

Federal records showed that World Wide Travel had at least two other accidents in the past 24 months in which people were injured. The company was also flagged for possible extra scrutiny due to violations involving driver fatigue regulations.

These types of cases can be challenging since they usually involve long-distance travel and may require the application of laws from multiple states.