Kin Yiu Cheung, driver in fatal Va. bus crash charged with 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter
Updated: June 3, 2011 - 05:47 pm
The driver in in the fatal Sky Express bus crash in Virginia over the Memorial Day holiday weekend has been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Kin Yiu Cheung is being held without bond at the Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover County, police stated. He will be arraigned on the four felony involuntary manslaughter charges next Wednesday.
The 37-year-old from Flushing, N.Y., was previously charged with reckless driving in Tuesday's fatal crash. Caroline County District Attorney Tony Spencer said that shortly after the crash, there was no probable cause to charge Cheung with anything other than reckless driving.
However, upon further investigation by the Virginia State Police, enough evidence was gathered to pursue further charges.
The bus driver was overheard by passengers talking on a cell phone saying he was tired and that he had little turnaround time before making the trip from North Carolina to New York.
Those killed were four adult females from New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Cheung faced a judge for the first time Friday since he was arrested. He was out on bail until Friday morning, when he was taken into custody in Caroline County.
Police say Cheung was fatigued when the Sky Express bus swerved off the highway, hit an embankment and overturned about 30 miles north of Richmond. It departed Greensboro, N.C., on Monday night bound for Chinatown in New York City with 58 people aboard.
"He just fell asleep," Ben Johnson, a passenger on the bus, said.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Sky Express was shut down by the Transportation Department following the crash for multiple safety violations.
Tuesday's fatal accident is renewing calls for stricter rest-time requirements for bus drivers. Federal lawmakers want them to have to adhere to the same regulations as truckers, USA Today reports.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas co-wrote a pending bus-safety bill and are considering adding that requirement.
"Now, after this weekend, I think it's a serious issue and probably should be added to the bill," Hutchison told the paper.
Currently, bus drivers are required to take an eight-hour break between shifts. Truckers must take a ten-hour break between shifts.
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