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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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