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April 09, 2018

Police: Pennsylvania man driving bus that slammed overpass in New York

Police Accidents
Stock_Carroll - Police lights Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Lights on a police SUV.

A Pennsylvania man was driving a bus full of high school students that hit a bridge overpass on Sunday on Long Island.

Troy D. Gaston, 43, of Bethlehem was behind the wheel of bus carrying 38 students and five chaperones returning from a European trip, according to New York State Police. The bus was traveling east on the Southern State Parkway about 9 p.m. Sunday when the 2000 Prevost coach bus slammed into the exit 18 overpass at Eagle Avenue in Hempstead.

Gaston and the 43 passengers on board were taken to several area hospitals, police said. Two of the injuries were serious, five of the injuries were moderate and the remainder of the injuries were minor in nature.

Video from the crash scene showed the top of the bus was heavily damaged. According to some news reports, the height of the bus exceeded the overpass height by four feet.


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The bus, owned by Journey Bus Line, was traveling from John F. Kennedy International airport to a mall in Suffolk County, according to police.

According to police, the initial investigation revealed that Gaston possessed a valid Pennsylvania Commercial Driver’s License.

Evaluated by the State Police for signs of alcohol and/or drug use, Gaston registered a blood alcohol content of .00, police said. The drug evaluation is pending. He voluntarily provided a blood sample for the test.

The investigation also revealed Gaston was utilizing a non-commercial vehicle GPS device, with a planned route via the Belt and Southern State Parkway, according to police. State Police still need to confirm the actual route through a forensic analysis of the device and passenger interviews.

Google/StreetView

A sign on the Eagle Avenue overpass along the Southern State Parkway in Hempstead, Long Island, indicates 7-foot, 7-inches of clearance. A bus carrying students hit the overpass on Sunday night, according to New York State Police.

Gaston was cooperative at the scene, and investigators are speaking with the bus company who operated the charter, police said. The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and this investigation does not meet their response criteria. They are monitoring the case.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing.