BY JAMES FARRELL
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that coach bus driver Raymond Mong, 49, ran a red light before colliding with an MTA Q20 bus in Flushing, killing himself and two others on Sept. 18.
The finding comes from the NTSB’s preliminary investigation of the crash and confirms that the bus, owned by the Flushing-based Dahlia Inc., rushed down Northern Boulevard through a red light as the MTA bus attempted to turn from Main Street.
The NTSB had previously confirmed that the Dahlia bus was traveling between 54 and 62 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone.
The report also confirms that the MTA bus had 16 passengers, while Mong was the only person on the coach bus.
The crash left 15 of the transit passengers injured, along with two pedestrians and two occupants of a parked car that was struck by the buses.
After the buses collided, they crashed into the storefront of a Kennedy Fried Chicken.
The other two victims were 68-year-old Henry Wdowiak, a pedestrian; and Gregory Liljefors, 55, who was a passenger on the MTA bus.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers announced legislation on Tuesday to better regulate the charter-bus industry.
Alongside Young Lim, wife of crash victim Sangki Kang, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) announced legislation that would make changes to Article 19A of the state Vehicle and Traffic Law, which sets requirements for private bus operators.
The changes would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a new credential to bus drivers and require drivers to display that credential inside the bus when on duty. It would also require the DMV to conduct annual audits of motor carriers. Currently, the law only requires audits every three years.
“With proper oversight this accident could have been avoided,” Kim said. “We need to empower riders with the information they need to make informed decisions.”