Fourteen Gamblers Perish When NYC Blackjack Casino Bus Cut in Half
Mar 13, 2011
Casino Bus Crash
Police are investigating if driver was asleep when casino bus crashed into a steel pole at over 90MPH killing 14 gamblers returning from a casino blackjack tournament.
A tour bus packed with 31 gamblers, returning from a Blackjack Tournament on Saturday was involved in a horrific crash at 5.35 in the morning on the outskirts of New York City.
The bus, traveling at close to 90 MPH (145 KPH), struck a solid steel support pole for a highway sign. After winning at blackjack at the Mohegan Sun casino, most passengers were asleep at the time of the accident.
The bus, which was almost completely cut in half, left a mix of body parts and twisted debris spread over all six lane of the I95 highway. Fourteen of the mostly Chinese-American gamblers were instantly decapitated or torn to pieces by the high speed accident, leaving eight victims in critical condition, each missing either one or both legs.
“We’ve had skull fractures, rib fractures, multiple amputations, internal bleeding, and high impact internal contusions,” said Dr. Ernest Patti, senior attending physician at Manhattan’s St. Barnabas Hospital. The bus driver was “awake and conscious,” Patti said.
New York State Police Major Michael Kopy stated that the crash is being treated as a criminal investigation. The driver told investigators that he was unable to control the bus after he made a sharp lane change to avoid a collision with a very large truck which was ‘swerving all over the road’.
Survivors of the crash and witnesses dispute this claim, saying that the bus driver was driving erratically for many miles prior to the crash.
Witnesses told police investigators that the blackjack tour bus was driving at an extremely high rate of speed in the early morning dusk, at least 80% above the legal speed limit: closer to 100 MPH than to the legal limit of 55. Only ten out of 32 passengers managed to remain alive and miraculously did not lose any body parts, including the driver.
Mr. Chung Ninh, 59, who somehow walked away without a single bruise, told investigators – “I play blackjack card games all night, was tired and asleep. Suddenly I upside down on bus; seatbelt holding me. Blood all over everything. Pieces of meat and ripped off parts of many people moving everywhere. My friend’s head was looking at me but his body was not there. I thought I died when asleep and woke up in hell.”
Mr. Ninh described trying to help one bloodied woman and the driver telling him to stop – “I think she alright. She alive, spoke, but I didn’t see she cut completely in half. Below ribs was nothing. Driver tells me to forget her and help another one.”
Police arrived to find over 15 good samaritans who’ve stopped to help victims in a complete state of shock.
“People were crying, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God’, holding their hands on their faces,” Officer Kopy said, “I saw people telling others not to go there and not to look. I’ve been on the force for 20 years and I will have nightmares for sure.” He said when officers got inside the wreckage, they found- “bits and pieces of bodies everywhere all tangled with the living, the dying and the dead.”
The marketing casino strategy of Connecticut’s Indian Tribes has always been to entice New York City’s large Chinese-American community. Fifteen percent of gamblers inside Connecticut’s casinos are of Chinese-American descent who come over-night to play blackjack card games and return early the next morning and go straight to work.
Hundreds of busses operate daily trips from New York City to the Indian Casinos of Connecticut.
Tags: Blackjack, Casino, Connecticut, driver, Ernest Patti, head, I95 highway, Major, Manhattan's St. Barnabas Hospital, Michael Kopy, New York City, New York State Police, officer, senior attending physician, Speed, St. Barnabas Hospital, steel pole, steel support pole