The NTSB is investigating a major Virginia truck accident in Yorktown: Here’s what you need to know
A tragic collision along Interstate 64 in York County is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB mainly investigates airline crashes, but sometimes will investigate accidents involving other types of transportation.
An NTSB investigation of a non-airline crash generally occurs when there were unusual circumstances or when the crash has implications for transportation policy.
This crash, which happened on December 16, 2022, involved a semi-trailer truck that rear-ended a “party bus,” which was traveling eastbound on Interstate 64 near Williamsburg. Several people were ejected, with three fatalities and multiple injuries occurring among the 23 passengers.
Virginia State Police investigating the crash reported that “speed and alcohol” were involved in the accident. Both drivers were questioned, but no charges had been filed as of January 10, 2023 according to 1st Sgt. Eugene R. Desaulniers.
Why the rare NTSB investigation?
It’s unusual for the NTSB to look into a non-aviation accident. NTSB investigators review about 1,200 aviation accidents annually. But they only send their go-teams to investigate approximately 60 incidents involving other types of transportation in a typical year.
The NTSB is most likely to investigate a motor vehicle accident that has significant national safety implications. They may also look into a crash that results in the loss of numerous lives, or an accident that involves emerging technologies.
What’s involved in an NTSPB investigation?
A go-team is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals with a wide range of investigatory skills. They are dispatched as soon as possible to begin collecting evidence at a crash site. The go-team will typically continue their investigation for 12 to 24 months before issuing a final report. This process may include an investigative public hearing.
An NTSB investigation generally proceeds in the following manner:
- Notification of investigation
- On-site fact gathering
- Analysis of facts and probable cause
- Compiling final report
- Acceptance of final report
- Advocating safety recommendations arising from the investigation
What were the suspicious circumstances in this accident?
The bus involved in the crash was advertised as a “party bus.” It was fitted with limousine-style seating. Damage to the truck was described by witnesses at “catastrophic,” and the bus’s passenger compartment was completely destroyed.
Today, it is not clear why the NTSB has chosen to investigate this collision, but many suspicious circumstances have been reported including:
- The truck was overweight.
- The bus was traveling well under the speed limit.
- The truck driver reported that he didn’t see any taillights.
- The bus driver told police that the bus was modified so it couldn’t go faster than 40 mph.
- Police found empty alcohol bottles and “unknown” pill bottles among the wreckage.
- The truck driver is suspected of driving outside of his allowed duty time.
- Court documents show that the truck driver falsified his logbooks.
- The bus driver was suspended from driving at the time of the crash.
Were you harmed by a careless driver?
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We have dedicated our practice to helping our neighbors in Virginia who have been harmed by another person’s carelessness. We consider our work a calling, and we handle every case with excellence and compassion for our clients.
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