UPDATE: ACCOMACK, VA. Virginia State Police report that a man found dead in the median strip of Rt. 13 in Accomack, Va. was a Haitian male who resided in that town and had been killed as he attempted to cross the highway by a charter bus from New York.
Police have apprehended the bus driver and jailed him on charges of leaving the scene of a bodily injury crash.
Earlier today, March 31, 2015, Virginia State Police was called to investigate an unidentified body, laying in the median of Route 13 in front of the Perdue Factory, in Accomack County.
Preliminary Investigations reveal that around 3:00 a.m., a 2001 Vanhool Charter Bus, was traveling southbound Route 13 when the driver struck a Haitian male who was attempting to cross Route 13.
The driver, Jihua Chen, stopped the vehicle, and made a quick searched around the immediate area of the bus before leaving the scene.
After further investigation by the accident reconstruction team and by VSP Special Agents, leads were obtained and the driver and vehicle were located.
Mr. Jihua Chen was brought back to Accomack County and placed under arrest for; § 46.2-894. “Duty of driver to stop, etc., in event of accident involving injury or death or damage to attended property; penalty.” Mr. Chen received a $15,000.00 secured bond.
Alcohol was not a factor.
Notification has been made to family members of the victim. Please see below for accident information.
VICTIM: Brice Sauver, male, 66 YOA, of Dream Land #1 on Route 13, Accomack County.
DRIVER: Jihua Chen, 36 YOA, of the 15000block of 22nd Road, Flushing, New York.
VEHICLE: 2001 Vanhool Charter bus belonging to United Bus & Travel Inc. Of Fresh Meadows, NY.
According to a Facebook page for United Bus and Travel as well as online listings for the firm under GOTO Bus, the bus service operates on the East Coast with rates between Charlotte, N.C. and New York at $60 per person including wireless service. A listing for the firm provides service from various points to Virginia Beach, Va., which is not far from the scene of the fatality in Accomack. The online listing posts an address between a bingo hall and a rental center on Virginia Beach Blvd in Norfolk.
The bus lines such as United are generally grouped together as “Chinatown” bus companies. They began originally as ethnic travel for Chinese traveling between major cities and outlying areas with special charter trips to casinos in the northeast. With their low fares, they have removed as much as sixty percent of the business from Greyhound and Peter Pan.
With several high-profile fatalities, the bus lines have seen more scrutiny from regulators and law enforcement. The Chinatown bus companies have grown in favor with young travelers due to their low fares and direct service, dramatically cutting the travel time due to skipping frequent stops.
A pedestrian running out onto a dark highway and being struck generally does not lead to criminal charges against the driver of the vehicle. Failing to stop and render aid and call 911 qualifies as a hit and run and, as in this case, does lead to criminal charges.
At approximately 0754, on today’s date, The Virginia State Police Communications Center was notified by an Eastern Shore Sheriffs Department of an unidentified body, laying in the median, on Route 13 in front of the Perdue Factory, in Accomack County.
Rt. 13 is a major north-south highway on the East Coast connecting the major cities of New York, Wilmington, Del. and Norfolk Virginia via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. A body found in a divided highway section of that highway could have been a pedestrian hit during the night or a homicide victim dumped from a vehicle.