PRINCE GEORGE, Va. (WRIC) — A trial for the man accused in a deadly 2019 commercial bus crash in Prince George County has been delayed once again. Yui Man Chow was driving the bus when it lost control, killing two people and sending several dozen others to area hospitals.
Tuesday, Sept. 14 was just the latest attempt to get his trial going. Commonwealth’s Attorney Susan Fierro told WFXR’s sister station that COVID-19 continues to stall the case that’s affected dozens of families.
In March 2019, Chow, a New Yorker, was driving nearly 60 people on a commercial bus from Florida to New York on an early, foggy morning.
State police say Chow tried but failed to take an exit ramp off I-95 in Prince George County. The bus ran off the ramp and rolled several times.
“A lot of people were screaming. I didn’t really know what was going on,” a woman who was on the bus told sister station WRIC in 2019.
“Everybody was devasted, they were crying,” said another survivor.
Dozens of people were hospitalized, and two people eventually died, including 81-year-old Janetta Cumberbatch. Her devastated brother spoke with WFXR’s sister station afterward.
“She was so gifted. She helped so many people. Her life was about really helping people,” he said.
Chow was ultimately charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. In addition, police say he was speeding at the time of the crash. Eventually, he was released on a $14,000 bond awaiting future court hearings.
The pandemic had disruptive effects. Court closures, travel bans, and quarantine requirements for witnesses were among the reasons the trial was continued at least seven times, according to Fierro.
On Tuesday, the trial was continued until late this December. It will be a bench trial, which means a judge, not a jury, will decide the New Yorker’s fate. Fierro said at the trial we should expect to hear from witnesses who were on the bus that morning.
For each charge, Chow is facing one to 10 years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and revocation of his license.
His Philadelphia-based attorney, David Bahuriak, called what happened a “largely unavoidable accident” on the phone with sister station WRIC on Tuesday.
“Our hearts to go out to the people injured and killed in this accident,” he said.
Bahuriak said there have been a number of accidents at that same scene.
“We’re hoping to get all this worked out. He has a family of his own. He has no criminal record,” Bahuriak said. “We’re hoping to put this whole thing behind us.”
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