Staten Island Driver In Deadly Virginia Bus Crash Charged With Manslaughter

The Tao's Travel charter bus that crashed in Virginia on Tuesday morning, on its way to NYC.
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The Tao's Travel charter bus that crashed in Virginia on Tuesday morning, on its way to NYC. Virginia State Police/Twitter

The driver in the deadly Virginia bus crash has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, after flipping a charter coach on its side during a trip from Orlando, Florida to New York City. According to NBC 4 New York, local police have not yet determined whether or not Tuesday morning's foggy conditions had anything to do with the crash, but they do reportedly suspect the driver's speed to have been a factor.

The bus had stopped in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina—about 100 miles away from the crash site in Prince George County—to switch drivers, which is presumably when 40-year-old Yui Man Chow, of Staten Island, took the wheel. He veered left off an exit ramp at 5:22 a.m., tipping the vehicle and tossing the 56 passengers out of their seats.

"All I know, I went to close my eyes and we were moving too fast," rider Monique Berry, who lives in Harlem, told NBC 4. "It swerved like a roller coaster. We tumbled five or six times. It wasn't less than that."

Berry ultimately made it out of the bus thanks to another traveler who grabbed her and helped her climb through a window, she explained. When she made it out, Berry continued, people were screaming and sprawled in the mud.

Another passenger, Christopher Forrest from Queens, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he had been asleep when the bus went off the road.

"It was like I'm in the spin cycle in somebody's dryer," he said. "The bus is just flipping. I didn't really know what was happening."

Two people died in the crash: one at the scene, and one at an area hospital a few hours later. Police have not released the names of the deceased. Another 54 passengers, some of them toddlers, were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment of their injuries. According to NBC, two people sustained life-threatening injuries. The driver was not hurt.

Tao's Travel, Inc.—based in Middleton, Massachusetts—chartered the coach, and has no fatal, injurious, or tow-away crashes on its record for the past 24 months. It received a satisfactory rating in its latest federal safety inspection, and owns four vehicles it charters for daily trips to NYC, according to the Times-Dispatch. Gothamist's call to Tao's Travel went unanswered.

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