PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The bus, which swerved and topped, setting off the deadly chain-reaction crash, originated in Chinatown, New York City, where the company Z&D Tours offers low-cost fares to Cincinnati and other destination in Ohio and Kentucky.
Z&D, and companies like it, are popular with Chinese immigrants and others seeking discount travel, but these so-called curbside bus services have also courted controversy.
Declaring them an “imminent hazard to public safety” the U.S. Department of Transportation shutdown 26 operators, citing buses that were not regularly repaired or inspected and drivers who were unqualified.
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But Z&D — which operates out of a strip mall in Rockaway, New Jersey — says it has a clean record and no connection with other companies.
According to U.S. transportation records, the company has 15 drivers and has had no accidents or safety violations in the past 2 years, earning it a satisfactory safety record.
A Z&D driver was killed in the crash, and KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke on the phone with the Z&D attorney who said the company is grieving for all involved.
“We want to extend our deepest condolences to the families involved in this accident. Our greatest priority is safety. Z and D has always had a good record on safety and we continue on that precedent,” said Dru Carey, the attorney.
Five people were killed in the crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning. Sixty others were sent to the hospital.
The driver of the bus, 58-year-old Shuang Qing Feng of Flushing, New York, was thrown from the bus and died at the scene. With the bus now on its side, state police say it was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. The impact threw two passengers from the bus.
Eileen Aria, 35, of the Bronx, New York, and 9-year-old Jaremy Vazquez of Brooklyn, New York, were also pronounced dead at the scene.