RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – An appeals court has upheld a bus driver’s convictions for a Virginia crash that killed four passengers, injured dozens and cast national attention on low-fare carriers operating on the East Coast.
Kin Yiu Cheung dozed off as he was driving a Sky Express bus from Greensboro, N.C., to New York City just before dawn on May 30, 2011. The bus with 57 passengers aboard veered off Interstate 95 about 30 miles north of Richmond and overturned. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that driver fatigue likely contributed to the crash because Cheung had limited opportunities for quality sleep the previous few days.
Cheung was convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
The Virginia Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected Cheung’s claim that prosecutors failed to prove he demonstrated reckless disregard for human life. The court said there was ample evidence Cheung knew he was in no condition to drive, including his heavy consumption of energy drinks and his own admission to police that he was sleepy right before the crash and that he fell asleep while driving.
Cheung’s attorney, Taylor B. Stone, did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.
Witnesses at Cheung’s 2012 trial described a harrowing experience as the bus swerved from side to side and changed speeds erratically for up to an hour while the driver guzzled coffee and energy drinks that he had picked up at stop along the route. A passenger who speaks Mandarin overheard a cellphone conversation in which Cheung told someone in his native language that he doesn’t get enough rest.
Passengers testified that when the bus hit rumble strips on the shoulder of the highway, they noticed the driver slumped to the right with his head on his shoulder.
“Given the difficulty that he had driving the bus during the hour before the crash, Cheung should have realized that his impaired condition was affecting his driving and posing a risk to the safety of those on the bus,” the appeals court said.
The accident caught the attention of government safety officials, who in June 2012 shut own more than two dozen similar curbside bus operations for safety violations. The NTSB said Transportation Department officials had been in the process of shutting down Sky Express at the time of the crash but had given the company an extra 10 days to appeal an unsatisfactory safety rating.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them