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Passengers recount terrifying I-95 bus crash: ‘It’s a blessing I made it’

Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 17:33:24-04

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Passengers on a New York-bound bus that crashed Tuesday morning on Interstate 95 in Prince George County, Virginia called their survival a blessing.

"I went to close my eyes and I felt something fast, it felt like we were moving too fast. It felt like a roller coaster. Like we were swerving," passenger Monique Berry said. "Right after that, it tumbled. It happened so fast."

There were 56 passengers and one driver on the bus when it crashed near the exit to Route 301 (Exit 45) at about 5:22 a.m. Tuesday.

Berry said she was sitting in the back half of the Tao's Travel Inc. bus when the driver drove off an exit ramp and overturned the vehicle.

Christopher Forrest, who was also a passenger on the bus, described his experience as the bus overturned.

"I wake up and it's like I'm in the spin cycle in somebody’s dryer," said Forrest.

Two people died as a result of the crash.

Dozens of passengers, ranging from toddlers to adults, were treated at several area hospitals with injuries from minor to serious, according to state police.

"Everybody was devastated. They were crying. Everybody was surprised," Berry said when asked to describe the feeling among passengers. "People didn't have their phones. People were freaking out because they didn't have their phones [to call loved ones]."

"This experience puts a whole new perspective on life, it really does. It puts a whole new perspective on everything and anything," added Forrest.

Yui Man Chow, the 40-year-old bus driver from Staten Island, New York, has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to state police.

"It's a blessing. I made it,' Berry said. "I thank God for everyone else who made it."

"For me to walk away from that with just egg-sized lump on my thigh and a bruise on my knee cap, I'm blessed, I'm blessed. Somebody was watching me," said Forrest.

The bus, which originated in Orlando, switched drivers in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips, photos, and video here.