Police have identified a Queens woman as one of the two people who died in the Virginia bus crash on Tuesday morning: 81-year-old Janetta Cumberbatch, who lived in Jamaica and reportedly succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital a few hours after the crash.
Another passenger died at the scene: 37-year-old Su Feng Xu, from China. The other 54 travelers—who ranged in age from toddler to elderly—were hospitalized for their injuries, some of which were minor and some of which were critical.
The driver of the NYC-bound bus, 40-year-old Yui Man Chow from Staten Island, sustained no injuries in the crash, and has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Around 5:20 a.m., Chow veered off an exit ramp on 1-95 and into a ditch, sending riders flying as the bus somersaulted off the road near Prince George County. Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Christopher Forrest of Queens compared the experience to being "in the spin cycle in somebody's dryer."
"We were moving too fast," passenger Monique Berry, who lives in Harlem, told NBC 4 New York. "[The bus] swerved like a roller coaster. We tumbled five or six times. It wasn't less than that."
Virginia State Police say that speed may have played a key role in the crash, but that the investigation is ongoing.
A Massachusetts-based company called Tao's Travel, Inc. chartered the bus to the Starline Express bus line, according to the Daily News. Starline runs daily trips from Florida to Manhattan's Chinatown, with stops in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Tao's Travel owns four coaches and employs eight drivers, according to federal records, and received a satisfactory rating in its safety inspection. The company has had no injurious, fatal, or tow-worthy crashes on its record for the past 24 months, but has received violations for speeding and non-functional exit windows.