Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
All charges dismissed against Sky Express bus dispatcher
All charges against a Sky Express bus dispatcher were dismissed in Caroline Circuit Court this morning.
Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer dismissed four counts of involuntary manslaughter against 41-year-old Zhao Jian Chen.
The Greensboro, N.C. man was accused of ordering bus driver Kin Yiu Cheung, 38, to drive the Sky Express bus May 31, 2011 from North Carolina to New York, even though Cheung told him he was too tired.
Chen, who was subpeonaed by Virginia State Police today, will now serve as a witness during Cheung’s trial on Nov. 8.
Because a gag order is in effect on the case, Spencer could not comment on why he dismissed all of the charges.
Cheung told state police he was tired and dozed off before the wreck about 5 o’clock that morning on Interstate 95 in Caroline County, according to court documents. But Cheung told police he drove anyway because Chen ordered him to drive or he would risk losing his job.
When Cheung woke up, the court documents said, he turned the bus hard to the left. The bus ran off the right side of the highway near the Carmel Church exit, hit an embankment and overturned, landing on its roof.
State police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said fatigue was a factor in the crash and speed is what made the bus flip. The speed limit in the crash area is 70 mph.
Of the 58 passengers aboard the bus, 53 were taken to 11 hospitals across the state. Killed in the crash were Karen Blyden–Decastro, 46, of Cambria Heights, N.Y.; Sie Giok Giang, 63, of Philadelphia; Josefa Torres, 78, of Jamaica, N.Y.; and Denny Estefany Martinez, 25, of Jersey City, N.J.