A bus that was being driven from New York City to the state of Georgia was involved in a serious accident this week when it ran off the road in northern Virginia and flipped. There were four passengers who were seriously injured in the incident.
The accident took place on Monday evening on Interstate 95, where it was driving southbound to its intended destination in Doraville, Georgia. There were fifty eight passengers on board the vehicle at the time of the accident, and five required attention at local hospitals. Four were reportedly seriously injured, but none of the passengers’ injuries were considered life threatening, according to Sgt. Frederick Tyler of the Virginia State Police. All 58 were taken via school bus to local hospitals to provide them with warmth and shelter.
According to police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, it was snowing on the evening of the accident, and the weather was definitely a factor in the accident; the main cause of the incident was that the driver was driving far too fast for existing conditions. Also of concern was the fact that the driver, fifty-year old Qilong Xiao of Flushing, New York, was unable to speak English. He was charged with reckless driving and was taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford County, where he was held on $5,000 unsecured bond.
The bus is owned and operated by Pandora Bus Company, a motor coach company that provides inexpensive transport from New York and other urban destinations. Pandora’s parent company is Indianapolis-based Princess Tours.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records, Princess does not have any record of previous collisions and has required no interventions for violations it has committed, but the company does have a record of employing drivers who have been problematic. Three of them have been cited for speeding, with one of those unable to understand or speak English, a requirement for motor coach drivers who are responsible for carrying passengers from state to state. In the case of the Pandora Bus accident on Monday evening, Qilong Xiao was also unable to speak English, and the police had to bring in a translator in order to communicate with him.
It took over 24 hours for the bus company to provide arrangements for a replacement bus to take the rest of the passengers to their scheduled destination in Georgia.