| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 6 A jury reached a verdict on
Thursday in the manslaughter trial of bus driver Ophadell
Williams, charged in the deadly Bronx crash that killed 15
people, but in a highly unusual move he will not learn his fate
In a decision that lawyers for both sides called
unprecedented in their long careers, Judge Troy Webber in State
Supreme Court in the Bronx borough of New York City ordered an
overnight delay in revealing the verdict because of a juror
This was the second week of deliberations by the jury, which
weighed 54 counts of manslaughter, criminally negligent
homicide, assault, reckless and unlicensed driving charges
against Williams, 41, of Brooklyn.
The horrific predawn crash on Interstate 95 in March 2011
triggered a federal and state crackdown on bus operators,
including proposals to fit vehicles with speed-limiting devices
and to require companies to get 10 years of driving records from
Prosecutors said that Williams, whose driving record
included 18 suspensions over two decades, was overly tired when
his speeding bus hit a guardrail, flipped onto its side and
skidded into a highway sign support pole, sheering off the roof.
Of 32 passengers, 15 died and 15 were injured, some severely.
The bus was returning passengers to Chinatown after a night
of gambling at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.
Williams's lengthy trial, which was interrupted by Hurricane
Sandy, was followed by drawn out jury deliberations that were
marked by juror absences and other scheduling glitches.
The jury reached a verdict on Thursday afternoon at about
the same time one juror had an appointment, leaving too little
time for the 54-count verdict sheet to be read. The judge
ordered the verdict sealed until Friday morning, when it will be
read by the jury.
The delay in hearing his fate left Williams "very, very
frustrated," said defense lawyer Patrick Bruno.
"For a moment he was pleased there was a verdict finally,
but now he's quite stressed," said Bruno of his client, who will
be returning to the city jail on Riker's Island for at least one
Both Bruno, a lawyer for 33 years, and the lead prosecutor
on the case, assistant Bronx district attorney Gary Weil, a
lawyer for 34 years, said they had never before seen such a
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Toni Reinhold)