HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A pair of brothers injured when a tour bus crashed in western Pennsylvania earlier this year allege in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the driver behaved recklessly before the wreck and subsequent multivehicle pileup.
According to the lawsuit filed in a New Jersey court by Anthony and Quwanjay Ellis, Quwanjay Ellis, who was sitting behind the driver, observed him going faster than normal about a half-hour before the crash.
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Immediately beforehand, according to the suit, Quwanjay Ellis heard passengers scream and saw driver Shuang Qing Feng, 58, make a "quick, startled, turn of the steering wheel causing the bus to make a sharp turn to the right."
The National Transportation Safety Board said a month ago light snow was falling when the driver lost control near Mount Pleasant, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. Two passengers, the bus driver and two occupants in a truck were killed, and nearly all of the other 59 passengers were hurt.
A message seeking comment was left for Z&D Tour Inc. of Rockaway, New Jersey, which registered and operated the bus.
The bus began its trip in the New York area and was headed to Cincinnati when the crash occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 5.
The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report said the bus was headed west when it veered toward the median, swept back across all travel lanes, hit an embankment, rolled onto its side and stopped in travel lanes. It was then struck by a FedEx tractor-trailer that was itself hit by a UPS truck. The driver and co-driver of the UPS truck were killed.
According to the lawsuit, Anthony Ellis was thrown through the front window and broke his neck and other bones, requiring surgery. He is not currently able to walk. Quwanjay Ellis crawled through the front window with elbow, hand, feet and chest injuries.
Their lawyer, Daniel R. Lapinski, said in a statement that the bus operator "failed to uphold its end of the bargain and people were seriously injured and lives were lost because of it. While Quwanjay and Anthony were lucky to survive, they will never be the same."
NTSB investigators said there were no seat belts on the motor coach bus.
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