Company from Virginia bus crash taken off the road

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2011 10:23 AM
Company from Virginia bus crash taken off the road

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The North Carolina company whose bus crashed on Tuesday in Virginia killing 4 and injuring 54 passengers was suspended from interstate travel, federal regulators said late on Tuesday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Sky Express Inc has an unsatisfactory safety rating for violating multiple federal safety regulations and took it out-of-service, a statement said.

"Safety is our number one priority," transportation secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "We will use every resource at our disposal to pursue and remove from our roads unsafe, reckless bus companies."

Days before the accident the Department of Transportation announced that a crackdown on passenger buses conducted in the first two weeks of May put 127 drivers and 315 vehicles out-of-service after over 3,000 unannounced inspections.

The Sky Express bus driver Kin Yiu Cheung, 37, of Flushing, New York, was charged with reckless driving and is being held on a $3,000 bond at the Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover County, a statement from the Virginia State police said.

Authorities blamed driver's fatigue for the crash that ended in an overturned bus and temporarily blocked northbound traffic on I-95.

The bus was headed to New York City's Chinatown, authorities said.

After a deadly bus crash near the Bronx in March that claimed 15 lives, New York State Department of Transportation cracked down on many of the discount bus services known as Chinatown buses. That tour bus crashed at 5:30 a.m. as it was returning to Chinatown from a Connecticut casino.

Police issued more than 150 moving violation tickets to bus drivers during the state-level follow-up effort aimed at improving safety standards for drivers and equipment.

One of the offenses included a North Carolina bus that was taken out of service because the driver had falsified his log book. Many other drivers were ordered off duty after they were found to lack required rest.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune)