June 23, 2011
A Richmond, Virginia, bus crash last month killed four women when a Sky Express bus driver fell asleep at the wheel. Today some of the 58 victims who were on the bus are still suffering, including one Michigan man and his mother, who remains hospitalized with serious spinal cord injuries.
This week Central Michigan newspaper The Morning Sun ran a follow-up story on the son and his mother. The 23-year-old man had just graduated from Central Michigan University and he and his mom were on the bus headed from North Carolina–where they were visiting friends–to New York City.
Now, almost a month since the tragedy, his 47-year-old mom remains on a ventilator in the surgical intensive care unit at Fredericksburg’s Mary Washington Hospital. She had been visiting the U.S. from Nepal so that she could attend her son’s graduation.
The man sustained back injuries and is still wearing a back brace, reports the newspaper. His neurosurgeons have yet to determine whether his back will require surgery. A fund has been established to assist with the family’s healthcare expenses.
The highly publicized bus accident occurred on Interstate 95 on Tuesday, May 31, just before 5 a.m. When the driver fell asleep, the bus left the road, smashed into a barrier, and rolled over. Four people were killed and more than 50 were injured.
The 37-year-old driver has been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and remains in Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover, Virginia. According to a court affidavit, passengers had overheard the driver on his cell phone saying that he was too tired and hadn’t been able to rest between trips.
Federal law mandates that drivers may only spend 10 hours behind the wheel and must have eight hours off per day. Officials have shut down the bus company, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, for multiple safety violations.
Do you think more needs to be done to enforce commercial vehicle safety? Do you think it should be illegal for commercial drivers to be behind the wheel during those hours when scientists say the body naturally craves sleep?