The driver of a commercial bus that crashed on I-95 in Prince George County Tuesday morning, leaving two dead and dozens more injured, has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The single-vehicle crash happened just before 5:30 a.m. near Crater Road.
According to Virginia State Police, the Tao’s Travel Inc. bus overturned on the ramp to exit 45. The bus, carrying a total of 57 people — including the driver — was headed north on I-95 when it attempted to take the exit ramp, and ended up running off the left side of the ramp and overturned.
One person died at the scene, while another person died a few hours later at a nearby hospital, according to state police. Police on Wednesday identified one of the passengers as 81-year-old Janetta Cumberbatch, of Jamaica, New York. Authorities are still working to identify the other passenger who was killed, an adult male.
The remaining passengers’ injuries range from minor to serious.
State Police announced Tuesday afternoon that the bus driver — 40-year-old Yui Man Chow, of Staten Island, New York — has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Court records indicate that Chow was booked on those charges Tuesday and released on bond Wednesday.
A total of 54 people were still being treated at area hospitals Tuesday afternoon.
A Southside Regional Medical Center trauma doctor told 8News that nine passengers were transported to their hospital.
Additionally, hospital officials confirmed that 14 patients are being treated at Chippenham, 14 at Johnston Willis, 12 at VCU Medical Center, three at John Randolph, one at Swift Creek ET and one at the Tri-Cities ER.
Authorities have not released the identities of those involved, although VSP confirmed that the two people who died were adults.
8News spoke with passengers who recalled the terrifying moments before the crash.
“We tumbled like maybe five, six times? Maybe if that? I know it wasn’t less than that,” said Monique Berry.
The tumble woke Berry up as she slept on the bus.
“Everybody was devastated,” she remembered, “everybody was devastated. There was crying, everybody was surprised.”
Another passenger who survived the crash, Christopher Forrest, also recalled a hectic atmosphere after the crash.
“A lot of people screaming,” Forrest said. “I didn’t really know what was going on.”
The bus departed from Orlando, Florida. It had stopped in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to switch drivers and was continuing north to its final destination in New York City when the crash occurred, according to state police.
Family members of bus passengers are able to call the Prince George County Emergency Services Center at 804-733-2659 for information, state police said. A Family Reunification Center is also being established at the Prince George County Central Wellness Center at 11023 Prince George Drive in Disputanta, Va. 23842.
According to online records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Tao’s Travel Inc. is based out of Middleton, Massachusetts. They received a “satisfactory” safety rating in early 2017.
Records show the commercial bus company, which has four vehicles and eight drivers, previously had no major crashes. They were last inspected in September.
State Police couldn’t confirm if the crash was weather-related. Many areas across Central Virginia experienced dense fog and icy roads early Tuesday morning.
The crash closed the exit for hours, well into Tuesday afternoon.
Multiple rescue units from Virginia State Police and Prince George County responded to the crash. A representative with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was on scene and NTSB was notified.
The VSP Motor Carrier Safety Team is also assisting with the crash investigation.
Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story.