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Driver in Va. bus crash faces felony charges

Kin Yiu Cheung, with lawyer Murray Janus, arrived at court for his arraignment in Monday night’s crash. Kin Yiu Cheung, with lawyer Murray Janus, arrived at court for his arraignment in Monday night’s crash. (Reza Marvashti/Free Lance Star via Associated Press)
Associated Press / June 4, 2011

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BOWLING GREEN, Va. — A driver for a low-fare interstate bus service was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter yesterday after a brief court appearance on another charge stemming from a crash this week in Virginia that killed four passengers and injured dozens more.

Kin Yiu Cheung, 37, of Flushing, N.Y., had been free on bond, but he was arrested on the new charges shortly after appearing in Caroline County court yesterday morning. Cheung was in court to answer to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge stemming from the Tuesday crash on Interstate 95 about 30 miles north of Richmond.

The new charges are felonies, each carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Police say Cheung was fatigued when the Sky Express bus he was driving swerved off the highway shortly before 5 a.m., hit an embankment, and overturned. It had departed Greensboro, N.C., on Monday night and was bound for New York City with 58 people, including the driver.

Cheung’s lawyer, Murray Janus, called the wreck a “tragic accident.’’ He said he had not had time to talk to Cheung after his latest arrest.

Court records show Cheung had previous traffic violations in Virginia dating back to 2003, including speeding, following too closely, and failing to obey a highway sign. It was not clear whether the violations were personal or while driving a commercial vehicle.

Authorities declined to comment on the investigation.

State Police were on the scene of the crash within minutes, arriving quickly enough that the bus was still rocking and survivors were crawling out of the bus into oncoming traffic, Spencer said.

Passenger Ben Johnson, 47, of New York City, said the bus swerved off the road and hit the rumble strips on the shoulder before the driver tried to get back on the road.

Sky Express did not immediately comment.

Transportation Department officials were in the process of shutting down the company at the time of the crash, but had given it an extra 10 days to appeal an unsatisfactory safety rating.

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