Update: Driver charged after bus carrying 58 passengers crashes on I-95
(WJLA) - Its windows broken, its right side heavily damaged, the Princess Tours bus sits in a Fredericksburg tow lot.
"Speed and road conditions... it's a bad combination," says tow operator Pete Sullivan.
The bus and it's driver, 50-year old Qilong Xiao, are now the focus of a state police investigation after a pre-dawn crash along I-95 between Stafford and Fredericksburg.
"I'm just happy I'm alive," remarked Shanora Moore, one of fifty-six people on the Georgia-bound bus, that left New York City Sunday night.
Police say Xiao lost control in the southbound lanes of the interstate, before the bus careened off the highway and flipped on it's side.
But it wasn't the slick highway or weather conditions that likely caused this crash, investigators say.
"Due to road conditions, we're looking at speed as the main factor on this crash," stated Virginia State Police Sergeant F.L. Tyler.
"When the driver lost control, the vehicle ran off the roadway to the left and overturned."
Sitting quietly in a front hallway of Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, Moore recalled the terrifying moments when the bus began fishtailing before it left the highway.
She thinks the bus may have been traveling 60 miles per hour, perhaps faster.
"When the impact hit, the glass shattered," she remembered. "All you seen was blood, people screaming, 'help me, help me'. 'I need some help, my arm is broken.' "
Moore, a hair stylist who was heading to her suburban Atlanta home, says one of her shoes went flying off during the impact. Suddenly, she found herself hanging on to her seat for dear life, inside a bus turned sideways.
"I was still holding on to the chair, 'cos if I let go, I'd land on people beneath me," Moore explained.
Those who were able to--- including Moore--- were bused to Sullivan's tow shop, with their possessions--- laptops, suitcases, clothes, even glasses laid out in small piles.
"I was surprised nobody was seriously injured and killed," Sullivan says.
Moore suffered a neck injury. She told her story wearing a neck brace and someone else's sneaker, with no idea who the owner is.
Authorities says dozens were hurt. Some passengers had broken bones, cuts and bruises. The injured were transported to four area hospitals, four admitted to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment.
But Sullivan believes the crash could have been much worse.
"Go sixty miles per hour to almost nothing," he says. "Buses don't have seatbelts on each seat, nothing to hold people in place."
Department of Transportation records show Princess Tours, based in Indianapolis, have been cited three times for speeding since November of 2012.
Xiao is now being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail. He faces reckless driving charges.
Moore says she's going home Monday night, but says now -- she's taking a plane instead.