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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.

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.




  • Jason

    Oh you have to be kidding me. He’s just as guilty by association in this case. This type of thing has been going on for a long time in the trucking world, dispatchers ordering drivers to drive hot or be fired and it needs to be stopped. Dispatchers need to start being held accountable when a driver tells them they can’t legally drive but then threatens the driver. Perfect chance right here to set a precedent and it’s not going to happen now………..the FMCSA knows it goes on but refuses to actually crack down. DOT says they will help or protect the driver, in this case, WRONG. Yes the driver was wrong in going anyways and should be punished but so should the dispatcher.

  • Emily

    While I agree, the evidence may not be there. Since guilt has to be shown beyond a reasonable doubt, the only evidence to show that Chen was guilty was one man’s word against the other. Unless there was some objection written or recorded, I can understand why they dismissed the charges. If true though, and Cheung did tell Chen, I believe he would be just as guilty.

  • Unknown_Sender

    This is the same as “over serving”. if something happens when a patron is served too much alcohol, the law states the responsibility falls on the “server”, all the way up to and including the “bar tender” who poured the drinks.
    the chains of command and responsibility are one and the same! certainly, the outcomes of both situations could be, and as we see here, ARE deadly.
    so if peeps can be held accountable for serving, so should the dispatcher in this case. and all those alike. it is “everyones” responsibility at Sky Express to have made sure this one driver ( or anyother ) was deemed safe for the road.
    if any other employee albeit janitor up to CEO had any knowledge beforehand the driver was unable to meet safety requirements, it was their job to stop this.
    Safety is EVERYONES job, whether your doing anything or not. its a 24/7 duty, and this case shows what will happen when we waiver.