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Dahlia, bus company involved in fatal Queens crash, has record of unsafe driving: Regulators

Buses for Dhalia and the MTA sit on Northern

Buses for Dhalia and the MTA sit on Northern Boulevard and Main Street in Flushing following a deadly collision on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The bus company involved in a fatal crash in Queens on Monday morning has a record of dangerous driving, according to federal regulators.

Queens-based Dahlia Group Inc. has a worse on-road performance than 83 percent of motor carriers in the same safety event group, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data. The company has received seven unsafe driving violations from the administration since Sept. 5, 2015.

At about 6:15 a.m. Monday, Dahlia bus operator Raymond Mong struck an MTA bus in Flushing, the NYPD said. Three people died — a pedestrian, an MTA rider and Mong — and 17 more were injured.

Surveillance video from nearby Sophia Spa appears to show Mong run a red light as the charter bus heads east on Northern Boulevard, plowing into a turning MTA bus on the Q20 route at the corner of Main Street. The Dahlia charter bus then mounted the sidewalk and careened into a Kennedy Fried Chicken on the corner.

Of Dahlia’s seven most recent unsafe driving violations, four were for speeding, according to federal regulators. Two of those speeding violations were given to the company for buses driving 15 mph or more above the speed limit.

Dahlia’s most recent violation was given on July 18, for a bus driver who failed to obey a traffic control device in Delaware.

In February 2016, one person was killed and 36 more were injured when a Dahlia bus flipped onto its side during a trip to Mohegan Sun Casino, according to federal regulators. The bus was traveling on a snow-covered Interstate 95 in Madison, Connecticut, at the time.

A similar accident happened in 2003, the New York Times reported at the time. A Dahlia bus traveling to Atlantic City on the Garden State Parkway spun off the road and flipped onto its side. Two people were killed and 28 were injured, the paper reported.

While officials pieced together the cause of Monday’s crash in Flushing, MTA chairman Joe Lhota said he was concerned about speed, given the state of the two buses involved.

“As we’ve observed, these buses spun around,” Lhota said. “That requires an enormous amount of speed.”

When contacted by phone, a representative from Dahlia hung up as an amNewYork reporter identified himself.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday afternoon that it was sending a team to investigate the crash.


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