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William Dalambert, bus driver, charged with driving while ability impaired after Times Square crash
The driver of one of the buses that collided near Times Square on Tuesday was charged with driving while ability impaired, police said.
Two double-decker tour buses collided Tuesday afternoon, knocking over a traffic pole that came crashing down on pedestrians, injuring 14 people.
William Dalambert, 58, struck a parked double-decker bus, police said. Driving while ability impaired charges usually apply to drivers who are on prescription medication, drugs or have been drinking but are not above the legal limit.
Three of the victims had serious injuries, though none of them were life threatening, according to the FDNY.
"We're very fortunate that only three had injuries that required them to be mobilized," said FDNY Deputy Chief John Wieland.
The two buses, CitySights NY and Gray Line, collided at about 3:22 p.m. at 47th Street and 7th Avenue.
A guide on the red Gray Line bus was the only passenger injured; the rest were pedestrians hurt when one of the buses knocked down a traffic light pole during the collision, FDNY officials said.
James Stephens, who sells theater tickets at TKTBook, said he saw an SUV cut off the red bus before it hopped the curb and knocked down the pole.
"He hits the light, literally smashed into it, smashes into City Sights bus and people scattered," Stephens said. "The pole fell like a broken matchstick."
An NYPD spokesman said the other vehicle involved in the crash was a GMC Yukon, but had no details on the driver as the Collision Investigation Squad continues its investigation.
A TKTBook employee who witnessed the collision, Al Simpson, 26, said the crash caused a lot of screaming and sent people scrambling to get away.
"You could see the sparks flying from the lamppost," he said. "It was quite frightening."
He also said the Gray Line bus, which took most of the damage, seemed to be traveling too fast.
"It did look like it was speeding," he said. "It looked like it was trying to make the light."
Construction worker Russell Evans, 55, said that people sitting on the upper level of the bus were "flying off the top" of their seats.
"You heard a loud boom. People were panicking," Evans said. "People were getting out of the way and some people were rushing in to help."
The CitySights bus was being towed at about 6:45 p.m. as investigators inspected the Gray Line bus.
A spokesman for Twin America, the company behind both buses, said in a statement it is cooperating with authorities.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured," said David Chien, the spokesman.
An earlier version of this story misidentified a bus involved in the crash. It is a Gray Line bus. The name of the company where witnesses James Stephens and Al Simpson was misidentified. They work at TKTBook.
--With Caroline Linton