Regulators investigating compliance after bus crash that killed Cornell alumna

Federal investigators are reviewing an Ithaca bus company’s compliance with transportation regulations after its bus crashed on the way to New York City on Sunday night, killing a Cornell alumna and injuring several passengers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration this week opened a compliance investigation into Big Red Bullet, the Ithaca-based private charter bus company whose bus veered off a Pennsylvania highway while carrying 12 passengers and a driver, crashing into several trees.

The FMCSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, will review Big Red Bullet’s driving records, licensing and insurance information, drug and alcohol testing protocols and any other data relating to the company’s compliance with federal standards, spokesperson Duane DeBruyne told The Sun.

A compliance investigation is “essentially an audit” of a company’s compliance with federal safety regulations, DeBruyne said. The FMCSA seeks to prevent commercial vehicle injuries and deaths.

The agency will share the results of its probe with Pennsylvania State Police, which is leading the crash investigation. A State Police spokesperson did not respond to multiple phone messages seeking an update on the investigation Tuesday.

Rebecca Blanco M.B.A. ’17, of Vacaville, Calif., was pronounced dead at the scene of Sunday’s crash, which occurred just after 9 p.m. off of Interstate 380 in Lackawanna County, less than 10 miles from Scranton.

Big Red Bullet acknowledged in a statement to The Sun on Tuesday afternoon that it operated the bus that had crashed. The company said it was “cooperating fully with investigators to determine the exact sequence of events.”

The Daily Sun (Cornell University Newspaper):
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