Ex-con Ophadell Williams ripped by DA for horrific Bronx bus crash that killed 15 people (video below)


Ophadell Williams, the driver in bus crash that killed 15 people, hears charges in Bronx court.

The bus driver in a horrific Bronx crash that killed 15 people was sleep-deprived and driving recklessly when he lost control of the vehicle, prosecutors said Thursday.

Ophadell Williams, 40, of Brooklyn was slapped with a manslaughter rap and several other criminal charges in a 55-count indictment unveiled Thursday.

The indictment came as a new report criticized a weak State oversight system that failed to catch Williams’ shoddy driving record and criminal history.

"This was not a mere accident," Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said. "It was a serious criminal act, and that was what we intend to show."

Williams, who walked into court wearing blue-jean shorts and a blue shirt, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $250,000 bail.

His lawyer, Steven Seener, insisted the crash was caused by a collision with a truck – which prosecutors deny – and that Williams was "completely remorseful."

The World Wide Travel bus was returning to Chinatown from an overnight gambling trip to the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut when it ran off the road on Interstate 95, striking a sign post and shearing off the roof.

At the time of the accident, Williams had multiple license suspensions under the alias "Eric Williams."

He also had a criminal record that included convictions for stabbing a man to death and stealing from the Police Athletic League.

State Inspector General Ellen Biben yesterday chided the Department of Motor Vehicles for not realizing Williams used an alias.

Biben – who also called for fingerprint checks for commercial bus drivers – noted Williams was denied a security guard’s license and jobs at the MTA and Belmont Park racetrack because of his criminal history.

DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala said the agency is working to tighten its procedures.

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