Tragedy struck I-95 in Caroline County, Virginia (VA), before dawn on May 31, 2011, when a commercial tour bus crashed, leaving four passengers dead. The accident happened around 5:00 am as the bus was travelling northbound between Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC.
According to MSNBC, state police responded to the scene at 4:55 am to find the bus lying upside down off of the right side of the highway. Nearly 60 passengers and the driver were on board. Several of the injured have been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, including the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond and Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. Injuries of those surviving the crash range from minor to life-threatening.
The New York Times has reported that a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, Corinne Geller, cited driver fatigue as the cause of the accident. The driver was treated for minor injuries and is cooperating with investigators. Police are also trying to determine whether any mechanical failure of the bus was a factor as well.
The bus was operated by Sky Express Bus, based in Charlotte, North Carolina (NC). It was heading from Greensboro, NC, to Chinatown in New York, NY, when it crashed about 30 miles north of Richmond This occurs only 2 months after a horrific accident in which another commercial bus travelling from Connecticut to New York crashed and killed 14 passengers, leaving another 18 injured.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the victims and their families. We are all too familiar with the pain and suffering that accompanies commercial bus and mass transit accidents. In fact, this wreck hits quite close to home, as one of our attorneys, Jim Lewis, is from Caroline County, Virginia. Perhaps stricter standards should be put in place, such as lowered speed limits for buses travelling on highways. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been briefed on the crash that has left the northbound lanes of I-95 closed all morning. He said at this time that it is too early in the investigation to start speculating on increased highway regulations.