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Bus driver in fatality had numerous driving citations

By Izaskun E. Larrañeta

Publication: theday.com

Published December 06. 2012 9:00PM   Updated December 07. 2012 3:29PM
Mass. man completed retraining course to avoid suspension; victim worked at Mohegan Sun

A Braintree, Mass., man who state police said was driving a bus that struck and killed a Mohegan Sun casino employee Wednesday on Sandy Desert Road had to complete a National Safety Council course to avoid suspension of his license, according to Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles records.

Lin Qi Si, 38, received driving citations in Massachusetts while driving with an out-of-state license. On Dec. 6, 2010, he was cited for making an improper turn, and on Sept. 28, 2011, he was cited for speeding and failure to stop. Records did not indicate what type of vehicle Si was driving when the violations occurred.

Because the violations happened within a 24-month time frame, Si was required to take a National Safety Council course to avoid a license suspension, according to the Massachusetts RMV. He completed the course on May 5.

Connecticut State Police said no charges have been filed in connection with the crash.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Si has a full and valid New York State commercial driver's license and has no violations on his driving record.

Si would have been required within 30 days of establishing residency in Massachusetts to obtain a valid state license. It is unclear how long he has been living there.

"The requirement to obtain a Massachusetts license within 30 days of establishing residency is difficult to enforce," said Sara Lavoie, MassDOT press secretary. "Issues with the requirement most often come to our attention following some type of interaction between a driver and law enforcement. We will be further looking into this particular case."

An official at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles referred all questions to state police. Police Lt. J. Paul Vance would not comment on either the bus company's or the driver's motor vehicle record in Connecticut. He said that would all be part of the investigation.

The bus is owned by Tribal Sun Bus Co. LLC of Rockland, Mass., according to state police.

Victim worked at casino

Police received numerous 911 calls at about 3 p.m. Wednesday alerting them to the accident, which occurred directly in front of the Mohegan Tribal Public Safety building on Sandy Desert Road.

When emergency personnel arrived, they found that 62-year-old Pui Yi Li, of Elmhurst, N.Y., had been hit by the bus while attempting to cross the street. Police said she sustained traumatic facial and head injuries.

Li was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital, where she later died of her injuries.

Vance confirmed that Li was an employee of the casino. He said there were no passengers on the bus.

John Wong, president of the Chinese and American Cultural Assistance Association, said he knew several people who knew Li and said she worked in environmental services at the casino.

Si was not injured in the accident, according to state police.

A language barrier prevented a woman who picked up the phone at the bus company's office from answering any questions. According to a company snapshot on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Tribal Sun Bus Co. has three buses and four drivers. The company is authorized to transport passengers across state lines. As of Wednesday, no crashes or fatalities for the past 24 months had been reported.

Casino spokeswoman Cathy Soper said the bus company is privately owned and has no affiliation with the casino.

She would not comment on Li's employment status at the casino and deferred further questions on the accident to state police.

In a statement Wednesday, Soper said: "We are deeply saddened by this loss and our thought and prayers are with the family at this time. We are working together with officials and aiding in every way possible to assist with the investigation of this tragedy."

Same spot, different accident

A man was hit and killed by a tour bus and his wife was injured in nearly the exact same spot in August 2004.

Joseph and Barbara Young of West Haven were walking with their son, John Young, across Mohegan Sun Boulevard on the north side of the crosswalk opposite the Mohegan Public Safety Office when they turned south to cross Sandy Desert Road.

A tour bus from the Morning Sun Bus Co. of Quincy, Mass., driven by Ket Chuen Chow of Brooklyn, N.Y., struck the couple as they were taking a left onto Sandy Desert Road from Mohegan Sun Boulevard.

The bus pinned Joseph Young, 68, beneath its rear wheels and struck Barbara Young, then 65, head-on. Joseph Young was pronounced dead at the scene, and his wife suffered injuries to her head and face. John Young, then 40, was not hit.

A state police investigation revealed that Chow, then 48, was operating the bus in excess of allowed hours of operation and that the bus had defective equipment. Chow was later convicted of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and reckless driving.

The Connecticut State Police Traffic Services Unit's Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad, the state police Truck Squad and the state Department of Motor Vehicles is assisting with the investigation into Wednesday's accident. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Trooper First Class Jeffrey Rogers at Troop E in Montville at (860) 848-6500.

Staff Writer Sasha Goldstein contributed to this report.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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