UPDATE: Charges pending against charter bus driver in crash that killed two

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: March 19, 2019 | 11:32 a.m.
Updated: March 19, 2019 | 5:45 p.m.

PRINCE GEORGE – Virginia State Police announced Tuesday afternoon that charges are pending against the driver of a charter bus that crashed along Interstate 95 early Tuesday morning, killing two and injuring several others.

That information was revealed in an update by Virginia State Police Spokesperson Sgt. Michelle Anaya, who told assembled media at the Prince George Central Wellness Center along Route 156 that the 40-year-old male driver from Staten Island, NY would be facing charges in connection with the 5 a.m. crash along the Exit 45 onramp in the county where the bus overturned.

Through their preliminary investigation, state police said, “The bus was headed north on I-95 when it attempted to take the exit ramp. The vehicle ended up running off the left side of the ramp and overturned.”

Tuesday’s press conference also brought confirmation on casualties as state police said two people had died as a result of the crash, one at the scene and another who died at a nearby hospital, and dozens of others were injured, with their injuries ranging from “minor to serious.”

Prior to the agency’s briefing, Southside Regional Medical Center spokesperson Brandon Seier confirmed the hospital received nine patients from the crash on I-95.

At 5 p.m., nearly 12 hours after the accident, the hospital gave an update on the patients they received, comprised of six men and three women. As that time, four of those patients remained hospitalized at SRMC for further treatment or observation, two have been transferred to unspecified facilities with a higher level of care, and two others have been treated and released.

He confirmed one patient died prior to arrival at the hospital.

According to Karen Bolton, representative for HCA Hospital’s John Randolph Medical Center and Tri-City Emergency Room, Hopewell’s John Randolph received three patients and the free-standing emergency room along Temple Avenue in Prince George received one patient.

According to state police, the bus departed from Orlando, Fla. It had stopped in Rocky Mount, N.C., to switch drivers and was continuing north to its final destination in New York City when the crash occurred.

Family members can call the Prince George County Emergency Services Center at 804-733-2659 for information related to those on the bus. A Family Reunification Center is being established at the Prince George County Central Wellness Center at 11023 Prince George Drive in Disputanta, Va 23842.

Area hospitals are providing transportation to the Family Reunification Center in Prince George County for passengers who have been treated and are ready for release.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported the bus was operated by a Massachusetts-based company, Tao’s Travel. According to federal records, the company has not had an accident in the last 24 months.

A call to the company by The Prince George Journal resulted in a man answering the phone, stating they “have nothing to say” and that “they are still investigating.”

Tuesday afternoon, Virginia State Police said a representative with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is on scene and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified as state police’s motor carrier safety team & local fire and EMS units remain on scene.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
Image: Virginia State Police
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