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July 07, 2014  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Trucker gets prison term for crash that killed bus driver


MINEOLA, N.Y. — A cement truck driver was sentenced on Thursday to five to 15 years in prison for a crash that killed a school bus driver and injured several others.

The incident happened on the afternoon of July 23, 2012. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that Raymond Ragen, 46, was driving a 13-foot, 3-inch high cement truck weighing nearly 40,000 pounds in Matinecock, New York, when he crashed into a 10-foot, 1-inch high Long Island Rail Road overpass.

The force of the crash sent the cement truck careening into oncoming traffic, where it collided head-on with a small school bus carrying special-needs children home from summer camp.

The bus driver, 45-year-old Jorge Guevara, suffered extensive internal injuries and had one of his legs nearly amputated. He was alive for about 30 minutes inside the bus while emergency responders attempted to sustain and revive him. Guevara died from his injuries while still pinned inside the bus.

A 64-year-old man serving as a bus attendant suffered multiple fractures, including a broken and dislocated hip and a fractured wrist.

Three of the four children on the bus suffered minor injuries. The fourth suffered a fractured jaw and lacerations on his face and body.

Ragen, the truck driver, was arrested after an extensive investigation. Authorities said that the GPS data from the cement truck revealed that Ragen was aware that his truck would not fit beneath the overpass because he had driven up to the bridge a few hours earlier and had been forced to make a U-turn.

In April, Ragen was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree (a C felony) and assault in the second degree (a D felony). He was acquitted of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, and assault in the second degree.

“The irreparable damage caused by Mr. Ragen’s reckless actions will never be erased,” said Rice, the district attorney. “Though nothing will bring back Mr. Guevara to his family, this sentence will ensure that this defendant will be held accountable for the pain and suffering he inflicted upon his victims that day.”

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Read more about: fatalities, New York, school bus crash

I never heard that he tried the bridge earlier in the day and had to make a u-turn. The news reported he was told that if he was in the middle lane he would have enough room to make it. This guy lives on Long Island and would obviously know as any professional driver from Long Island would know COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON PARKWAYS ON LONG ISLAND! The bridges are too low! (mini buses are allowed in certain stretches because they can fit under the bridges). I used to drive a school bus on Long Island and this guy is the epitome of the unprofessional driver on this Island. From the dump truck drivers that would risk every child's life by cutting me off to take a left,to the garbage trucks that would cut in front of you and block the entire road while they stopped at every house making children late for school (I guess in their mind trash is more important than a student getting to school. Then you have this guy, who knows he can't fit but goes barreling full speed because someone told him he can fit in the middle lane!?1! Really!?! Another professional driver dies (doing nothing wrong) and then Ihave to listen to this guy's lawyer talking about how this was just an accident and will appeal (and further back up the system). I hope the families sue the bajezus out of this company, making other companies think before they hire (and/or keep employed) drivers like this!

Bob Burr    |    Jul 15, 2014 08:48 PM

I wonder if he was on his phone at the time? If so that would be a prime example of why we need the crack down even harder on phone usage while driving.

E. Coachman    |    Jul 10, 2014 06:55 AM

Strange indeed that the truck driver would attempt to drive the truck under a bridge that he had found to be too low earlier in the day. It seems incredible. I would like to hear his testimony.

Bleu Boyd    |    Jul 08, 2014 02:21 PM

Why does it take two years to bring someone to justice for such a crime and how was he acquitted of so many other charges, all of which seem appropriate? I would suggest he deserves the full 15 year term at the very least. Why would he go under a bridge he knew was too low?

Geoff Bridgman    |    Jul 08, 2014 01:27 PM

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