PRINCE GEORGE, Va. (WRIC)– A New York man walks away with no jail time after a bus crash that left two people dead and dozens injured more than two years ago.
On the foggy morning of Mar. 19, 2019, 38-year-old Yui Man Chow, was driving nearly 60 people on a commercial bus north on Interstate-95, when it ran off the road. The bus rolled over several times and ejected some of the passengers out of the windows just after 5 a.m.
81-year-old Janetta Cumberbatch and 37-year-old Su Feng Xu were killed. The driver, Chow, was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2019 incident.
The bus had left from Florida and was headed to New York. Drivers were switched at a stop in North Carolina at about 3 a.m. This is when Chow took over. According to prosecutors, Chow was driving above the speed limit and took the wrong exit. Chow told the court he confused exit 45 for 46.
After the incident, prosecutors said Chow remained on scene, cooperated with Virginia State Troopers and helped contact the Tao’s Travel Inc. bus company.
Thursday, Chow pleaded guilty and the defense presented the guilty plea agreement, which had been negotiated in-depth with prosecutors. The agreement was a 5-year prison sentence suspended and 50 hours of community service. The judge accepted the plea deal, which gave Chow a second chance.
Chow’s Philadelphia-based attorney, David Bahuriak told 8News he was pleased with the judge’s decision.
“When you have people that lost their lives in a tragic accident, it’s hard to just let that go and there’s an emotional reaction,” said Bahuriak. “This case was extensively investigated, and the investigation just comes up with facts that warrant that he shouldn’t go to jail for this. The commonwealth should really take responsibility for what happened here.”
Bahuriak said citizens have complained about the intersection where Chow ran off the road. He said there had been numerous tractor-trailer accidents and the area has confusing signage.
Chow was emotional in the courtroom, breaking down and crying while prosecutors spoke about the details of the case. He was joined by his wife, sister and brother-in-law, who were visibly emotional as well.
When the judge asked Chow if he had anything to say to the court, he responded through a Cantonese interpreter with “I would like to give my apology to the victims.”
The judge said he was impressed by Chow’s remorse and felt he was sincere.
Chow no longer works for Tao’s Travel Inc.