Police: Bus Driver Charged in Fatal Tour Bus Crash - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police: Bus Driver Charged in Fatal Tour Bus Crash

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The tour bus crashed in northern Delaware on Sunday afternoon, leaving two people dead, and several others injured. The tour bus crashed in northern Delaware on Sunday afternoon, leaving two people dead, and several others injured.

NEWARK, Del. – The driver of a tour bus involved in a fatal crash Sunday afternoon has now been charged, according to Delaware State Police.

Troopers said Jinli Zhao, 56, Flushing, NY, is charged with two counts of the operation of a vehicle causing death of another person.

On Sunday at 4:20 p.m. police said Zhao was driving a 1996 Setra Touring Coach Bus carrying 49 passengers when he lost control while taking a ramp. Police said it has been determined that Zhao was driving at an unsafe speed as he tried to take a ramp to US 13 northbound coming off SR1 southbound.

Investigators said Zhao lost control of the bus on the ramp's curve, causing the bus to leave the roadway and overturn onto its roof. Police said the bus slid on its roof down a grass embankment, rotating on its left side where it came to a stop.

Hua'y Chen, a 54-year-old woman from New York City, was found under the bus and was pronounced dead at the scene, Sergeant Paul Shavack, Delaware State Police, said. Idil Bahsi, a 30-year-old woman from Istanbul, Turkey, sustained multiple traumatic injuries. She was taken to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center where she was pronounced dead Sunday night.

The other passengers were taken to area hospitals for injuries varying in severity.

Detectives said Zhao traveling at an unsafe speed has been determined to be a contributing factor in the accident that ultimately killed those two passengers.

Zhao was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Wilmington for treatment of minor injuries.

Police said he was released Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. into their custody. He was taken to Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Newark, where he was formally charged and arraigned.

Zhao was committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on $5000.00 Secured Bond, according to police.

The passengers were taking a 3-day sightseeing tour to Washington that began Friday in New York, authorities said. The crash happened as the bus, which is owned by AM USA Express, was heading back to New York City.

State police told media outlets there were no apparent witnesses outside the bus to the crash.

But Elvis D'cruz, 19, told The Associated Press he was driving in the area with a friend when he came upon the overturned bus. He said he and his friend pulled over and were there before first responders arrived.

"Everyone was in pain and crying out for help," said D'cruz, a student at Penn State Brandywine in Pennsylvania.

He said the group of passengers included mostly adults, many of them speaking different languages including Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese.

"There was not one person without blood on them," he said, adding that he and his friend handed out items from a first aid kit.

D'cruz said the bus had overturned on an off-ramp from Delaware's Route 1 that is known for being steep.

Photographs taken at the scene showed the bus lying on the driver's side on a grassy shoulder. The photographs showed at least two people with neck braces lying in the grass while a group of others were sitting nearby.

Video footage taken at the site showed emergency officials leaning over to attend the injured and placing victims on stretchers as ambulances and other emergency vehicles stood by. Debris was scattered about and a ladder had been set up alongside the overturned bus. Later photographs published online showed the bus had been righted.

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) along with the Delaware State Police Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Unit (MCSAP), continue to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation, according to police.

Troopers said drugs and alcohol are not considering factors in the crash.

Investigators said additional charges are likely to be filed as the investigation progresses.

 

 

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