The driver of an out-of-control charter bus that crashed in Queens on Monday was involved in an eerily similar collision 15 months ago, also in Queens. A photo taken after that crash shows what appears to be a breathalyzer device in the bus driver's car. Queens Reporter Ruschell Boone has this NY1 exclusive.
"I'm shocked that the driver that was involved in that accident was the driver involved in my accident," Laurence Torres says.
The College Point man is all too familiar with Raymond Mong, the driver behind the wheel of a charter bus that sped through a red light Monday, causing a deadly crash in Flushing.
Torres says Mong was the same driver who ran a red light in College Point on June 2 of last year, causing a collision that totaled Torres's vehicle.
"He just ate the red light. He didn't even think about it. He wasn't even looking," Torres said. "He was looking straight. He didn't even look to the right, to the left, and he just kept going."
Torres gave NY1 the police report. He told officers he had a green light on College Point Boulevard and that Mong "ran the red light in front of him." Torres said he was "unable to stop," striking Mong's car.
Mong told police officers that he had the green light and that it was Torres who ran the red.
"Both of our cars spun. We hit the corner light pole, whatever, and that's it," Torres told NY1 on Tuesday. "My car was really messed up in the front. His car was dented on the side door."
The police never determined which driver was to blame.
After the crash, Torres and his wife took photos of Mong's damaged car. One shows what appears to be a breathalyzer device. Torres said the tow truck operator saw Mong breathing into it in an attempt to restart his car.
This was a year after Mong was convicted of driving under the influence, a case that cost him his job as an MTA bus driver.
"I was in absolute shock that he was driving a bus for this private company, or any bus at all," Tores' wife, Aislynn Duarte-Torres, said.
"I can't believe that they would let someone drive with that type of record," Laurence Torres added. "It's just crazy."
Torres says he's thankful he wasn't killed in his accident, but he is sorry for the victims of Mondays crash, in which Mong also was killed.
"I couldn't believe it, knowing that it was him. It was just crazy," Torres said. "Feeling sorry for the passengers that died, and the ones that were hurt."