Nash County man remembers aunt killed in Virginia bus crash
Posted June 2, 2011
Updated June 3, 2011
Bailey, N.C. — Gregory Torres, of Bailey, remembers his aunt Josefa Torres as a person who brought others joy.
He said he saw her for the first time in 10 years when she visited the Triangle this past weekend for Memorial Day.
On Monday night, Josefa Torres, 78, of Jamaica, N.Y., and seven other relatives, including two children, were headed back to New York on a Sky Express bus when it crashed in Bowling Green, Va.
En route from Greensboro to Chinatown in New York City, the bus swerved off Interstate 95, hit an embankment and flipped over, about 30 miles north of Richmond. Four people, including Josefa Torres, were killed, and 20 of the 53 passengers were injured.
Before boarding the bus, Gregory Torres said his relatives had enjoyed a special family reunion.
“I was so blessed,” he said.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records, Charlotte, N.C.-based Sky Express Inc. buses have been involved in four crashes, with one injury or fatality during the two-year period that ended May 20.
Its drivers have been cited for 17 unsafe-driving violations, including eight speeding violations, since 2009. Three of the 46 violations for fatigued driving were classified as serious.
Sky Express also was cited for 120 vehicle-maintenance violations, including one classified as serious. The National Transportation Board was investigating Tuesday's crash. The bus had no passenger seat belts, only for the driver.
The driver of Monday’s bus, Kin Yiu Cheung, 37, of Flushing, N.Y., was charged Tuesday with reckless driving. Driver fatigue is being cited as part of the reason for the crash, but police were still investigating.
“They should not let the people continue to drive the bus. That’s all I can say. I wish they would stop them forever,” Gregory Torres said.
Gregory Torres said his other relatives remain hospitalized.
“We’re trying to go day by day,” he said.
Torres said his aunt is originally from the Dominican Republic. Her body will be returned there this weekend.