Tour bus driver will face charges for Soldiers Field Road crash

The driver of this Philladelphia-based Calvary Coach may have been distracted by his GPS before the crash, according to Mass. State Police. Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO
The driver of this Philladelphia-based Calvary Coach may have been distracted by his GPS before the crash, according to Massachusetts State Police.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

The driver of a tour bus that crashed into a Soldiers Field Road bridge in February, sending dozens of teens to the hospital, will face charges.

State police said Tuesday that they will charge the driver, Samuel Jackson, 67, of Philadelphia, with operating negligently to endanger. He has also been issued violations for failing to obey a sign and operating a bus on a Department of Conservation and Recreation roadway. 

Jackson was driving the group of high school students and adults from the Pennsylvania-based Destined for a Dream Foundation back to that state after a visit to Harvard University on Feb. 2.

The bus was driving along Soldiers Field Road at about 7:45 p.m. when it headed toward the Western Avenue Bridge and did not slow down as it approached and entered the tunnel, state police said.

“The investigation … determined that Jackson failed to heed warning signs prohibiting buses from that stretch of roadway while he was operating the bus eastbound on Soldiers Field Road,” state police said in a statement.

The bus collided with the under side of the bridge, causing the roof to partially rip off. The bus was too tall for the 10-foot clearance, state police said.

“State Police investigators reviewed all available physical and eyewitness evidence, examined the bus’ mechanical systems, and reviewed signage warning buses not to use Soldiers Field Road along the bus’ route,” state police said.

After the crash, the owner of Calvary Coach Bus, for which Jackson worked for, told WCAU-TV that Jackson looked down at his GPS before seeing the bridge and that it was too late to avoid it.

More than three dozen people were taken to local hospitals after the crash. Some were trapped inside the bus for about an hour as fire crews worked to remove them.

Jackson was summonsed to appear in Brighton District Court at a later date, police said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike


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