PRINCE GEORGE — When state trooper Roman Borshch arrived at the scene of the fatal bus crash along Interstate 95 in Prince George County, he took the bus driver inside his police vehicle so he could talk to him — and also to protect him from angry survivors of the crash, the trooper testified Monday.
Borshch testified at a preliminary hearing in Prince George General District Court that he saw "a number of angry and injured passengers" when he arrived at the scene of the March 19 crash. A discount-fare bus driven by Yui Man Chow had veered off an exit ramp on I-95, leaving two people dead and dozens of passengers injured.
"There was a lot of angry people," Borshch testified. "There was a lot of injured people. He was scared."
After the trooper's testimony, Judge H. Lee Townsend III concluded that there was probable cause to certify two charges of involuntary manslaughter against Chow to a grand jury, which is scheduled to convene July 16. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Timothy Dustan withdrew a charge of reckless driving that Chow had faced.
Borshch also testified that speed and poor visibility in foggy conditions prompted the crash. The bus had departed from Orlando and was en route to New York City when Chow tried to take the exit from northbound I-95 and ran off the left side of the ramp.
When defense attorney David Bahuriak asked the trooper Monday whether the crash was simply caused by speed and the fog, the trooper replied that was what he determined from his investigation.
"Very, very poor visibility," Borshch said.
Borshch said Chow told him he had been driving 70 mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit on that stretch of I-95 is 65 mph, and the posted speed on the ramp is 25 mph.
A state police spokeswoman said in March that Chow may have been intending to take the exit for I-295 just before he crashed. The exit for I-295 is about 1 mile north from where the bus crashed. The police have said the ramp at Exit 45 has been a problem area, and it already was under scrutiny by highway safety officials.
The crash fatally injured Su Feng Xu, a Chinese national with an unknown address, and Janetta Cumberbatch, a resident of Jamaica, Queens.
Chow, 40, of Staten Island, N.Y., remains free on bond. On Monday, the judge said that because Chow has followed the terms of his bond conditions, he no longer is required to wear a GPS monitor on his ankle.