PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — One of the passengers hurt in the deadly charter bus crash off Interstate 95 in Prince George County filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking more than $10 million in damages.
Shivon Dollar-Moore, a 40-year-old woman from Harlem, New York, was one of the 57 passengers on the bus the morning of March 19. She was returning to New York after attending a family wedding in South Carolina, her lawyers said. Dollar-Moore is recovering from surgery for “severe back injuries“ at Southside Regional Medical Center.
Dollar-Moore’s suit accuses three different “interstate passenger carriers“ of negligence in its hiring of the bus driver.
The four-count suit, which asks for a trial by jury, was filed in person by one of Dollar-Moore’s attorneys, Kevin Biniazan, in Prince George County Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon.
“From what we’ve initially looked at, there are some issues we think we’re going to be able to uncover that really kind of point the finger and we think this could have been a preventable situation,“ Biniazan said.The defendants in the suit are the operators of the charter bus, Tao Travel, Inc., Starline Coach, Inc., Peaceful, Inc., and also the driver. The suit claims the defendants were negligent in the hiring, retention and training of the driver, 40-year-old Yui Man Chow.
“We have reason to believe that this driver may have had some prior instances with speeding and if that’s the case and other drivers in this company knew, then we have to go out and find that out,“ Biniazan told 8News.
Chow, who is from Staten Island, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and ordered to remain in Virginia until his bond hearing on April 1.
The lawsuit states Chow did not heed signs advising drivers to reduce speeds to 25 mph and approached Exit 45 on I-95 North “at a speed in excess of 70 mph,“ which led the bus to overturn.
Dollar-Moore was returning to New York after attending a family wedding in South Carolina, her lawyers said. She is recovering from surgery for “severe back injuries“ at Southside Regional Medical Center. “We want to make sure there are accountable parties that can either prevent this from happening again, whether it’s in Virginia, George, South Carolina, and New York City, or anywhere else in the country,“ Biniazan said.
In a release sent to 8News, Dollar-Moore’s lawyers cite an interview from the New York Daily News about how their client was hurt in the crash.
“According to the New York Daily News, which interviewed Ms. Dollar-Moore, she ‘escaped the wreckage through a window and laid in the ditch next to the bus until first responders arrived. She was rushed to a hospital because she said she injured the ‘entire left side’ of her body,‘” the release said.
Biniazan lists the damages in the suit as, “bodily injuries, both permanent and non-permanent in nature; past, present and future physical pain and mental anguish; disfigurement, deformity and associated humiliation and embarrassment; inconvenience; medical expenses and lost earnings.“
Dollar-Moore’s civil suit is demanding $10 million for compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
Click here to read the full lawsuit.