Miami-Dade County

House arrest for bus driver in fatal Miami International Airport crash

The driver of a charter bus that slammed into an overpass at Miami International Airport in December 2012, killing three passengers, will spend the next two years under house arrest and cannot drive for at least the next decade.

Ramon Ferreiro, 48, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of vehicular homicide for the crash that killed the passengers, who were part of a group headed to West Palm Beach for a Jehovah’s Witnesses assembly.

As part of the plea deal announced in court, Ferreiro must also serve eight years of probation and complete 300 hours of community service.

Relatives of the dead passengers — Gliceria Emerida Garcia, 75; Serafin Castillo, 86; and Francisco Urena, 56 — approved the plea deal.

Ferreiro was behind the wheel of a 1999 Van Hool charter bus when he crashed the nearly 12-foot-tall vehicle into the airport’s lower-level arrival entrance, which had a clearance of about 10 feet.

A 12-foot-long section of bus’ roof peeled off, according to police reports, killing a passenger seated in the upper section. The other passengers were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where two more died of their injuries.

According to police reports based on a reconstruction of the crash and passengers’ statements, Ferreiro drove past a construction zone and eight different street signs warning of a low clearance ahead before plowing the bus into the overpass. He was traveling about 33 miles per hour in a posted 15 mph zone, according to the arrest warrant.

Ferreiro, who had a valid commercial driver’s license, also continued on his route despite warnings from passengers.

But the case was never an overwhelming one to present to a jury.

Ferreiro cooperated fully with police, did not test positive for alcohol or drugs, and did not appear to be texting or doing anything other than driving. He also had a clean driving record at the time of the crash.

The state has permanently revoked his driver’s license, although after his probation is up, Ferreiro can apply for a hardship license to be able to drive for work. He faces up to 45 years in prison if he violates his probation.