Patch reports a new development related to the tragic accident that occurred on Thursday when a bus carrying the Farmingdale High School band collided with a truck on the highway. The bus was on its way to a regional competition, where the band was expected to perform.
The school’s marching band and wind ensemble director, Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, and retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari, 77, of Farmingdale, were killed in the crash, state police said. Five students were hospitalized in critical condition and more than 40 others were hurt. The bus was one of six in the convoy.
We now learn that the charter bus company that was transporting the group has an “unacceptable” rating from the New York State Department of Transportation, according to data obtained by Patch.
Regency Transportation of Nesconset failed five of its last 15 semi-annual state inspections, according to data from the department.
The bus overturned on Interstate 84 in Wawayanda, Orange County, around 1:10 p.m. Thursday as it was carrying students and teachers to Greeley, Pennsylvania, for an annual band camp. Gov. Kathy Hochul said a faulty front tire “likely” caused the crash, as the bus then tumbled down a 50-foot ravine.
The state department of transportation has a performance-based bus safety program. Bus charters are inspected and then divided into four groups: preferred, acceptable, unacceptable and unrated.
Regency Transportation has 14 drivers and eight buses, according to its page on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
State officials are assigned to perform safety inspections of vehicles in New York every six months, according to the department.
Operators with an out-of-service rating of 25 percent or more are considered “unacceptable.” The threshold is less than 10 percent for “preferred” and between 10 and 25 percent for “acceptable.”
The “unacceptable” list was made effective on May 15. Regency Transportation was listed as having 15 total inspections over the past year, failing 33 percent of them, the data indicated.
Out-of-service buses receive a windshield sticker and are not supposed to be on the road until a state inspector removes the sticker, Times Union reported. It is not known if the bus carrying the Farmingdale marching band had a windshield sticker.
Regency Transportation is not taking messages, a person who answered the phone told Patch.
Regency buses failed five of 56 inspections between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2022, according to state data.