For Immediate Release - April 09, 2013

Apr 09: State Police to Charge Driver of Tour Bus that Crashed on Soldiers Field Road

The Massachusetts State Police will criminally charge the operator of a tour bus that struck a bridge overpass on Boston’s Soldiers Field Road in February. The decision to charge SAMUEL J. JACKSON, 67, of Philadelphia, comes after a meticulous investigation of the facts and circumstances of the crash by State Police, in consultation with the Office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

State Police are charging JACKSON with a criminal count of operating negligently to endanger, as well as with civil violations of failing to obey a sign on a Department of Conservation and Recreation roadway and operating a bus on a DCR roadway. JACKSON has been summonsed to appear in the Brighton Division of the Boston Municipal Court, where his case will be prosecuted by Conley’s office.

The investigation by Troop H of the Massachusetts State Police, assisted by the department’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section, 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. At the time, JACKSON was driving a Calvary Coach bus that had transported teenagers from Pennsylvania to Harvard University for a day visit on Saturday, Feb. 2; the bus was leaving the Boston area for its return trip when, at approximately 7:45 p.m., it attempted to enter the tunnel under the Western Avenue bridge in Allston. The bus was too tall for the tunnel, which has a posted 10-foot height limit.

The investigation determined that the bus did not slow down as it entered the tunnel, causing significant damage to the roof on the front portion of the bus and the portions of the frame that held up the roof. 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. The results of the investigation were presented to Conley’s office, where a senior prosecutor approved troopers’ issuance of the summons.

Numerous teenagers on the tour, who were with the Destined for a Dream Foundation, were injured in the crash. Most injuries were minor, but a handful were serious and one young man suffered severe injury. The Destined for a Dream Foundation is a Bristol, Pa.-based non-profit that seeks to build leadership and self-esteem in disadvantaged youths.