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By: Kevin Duffan, Personal Injury Attorney

Is it possible to have your driver’s license suspended 25 times?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical question and a driver whose license had been suspended 25 times and revoked was at the wheel of a church van that rolled over in Highland Mills, New York (NY) on the state Thruway last year, killing six people, police said Monday.

The at-fault driver, Bernard Lattibeaudiere, was charged with aggravated unlicensed driving: a felony, and unlicensed driving: a traffic infraction, state police said. It was a chain of tragic coincidences that lead to this fatal bus accident.

The first of course being that the driver was a habitual offender. The second was that the 15-passenger van that crashed, a 1997 Econoline van, is a type of vehicle that some consumer groups have been calling unsafe for nearly a decade. But Ford Motor Co. said after the crash that government research showed the van is safe "when properly maintained, driven safely by experienced drivers and when occupants wear their safety belts."

The van was carrying 14 people when the tire burst; the van hurtled out of control and rolled over into the grassy median. The third was that most of the passengers had not been wearing seat belts and several people were thrown from the van. The church’s Bishop, his wife and four others died. Eight people were injured.

My thoughts go out to the families of those killed and the entire congregation of the church. It is terrible that they lost not only friends and family but their spiritual leader as well in such a time of need.


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