Newark - The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) has charged the 56 year old male tour bus operator in connection with the death of 2 female passengers, after a single vehicle tour bus crash on Sunday.
Troopers have charged Jinli Zhao-56 of Flushing, New York with the Operation of a Vehicle Causing Death of Another Person (2 counts) in connection with the September 21st bus crash that killed passengers Hua’y Chen-54 year old female from New York City, New York and Idil Bahsi-30 year old female from Istanbul, Turkey.
Preliminary investigation has determined that the crash occurred on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at approximately 4:20 p.m. as a 1996 Setra Touring Coach Bus with 49 passengers onboard, operated by Jinli Zhao-56 year old male from Flushing, New York was traveling SR1 southbound exiting onto the off ramp to US 13 northbound, New Castle. Zhao lost control of the bus as he attempted to negotiate a moderate curve on the ramp at an unsafe speed. The bus exited the roadway and overturned onto its roof. The bus continued to slide on its roof traveling down a slight grass embankment, rotating onto its left side where it came to rest.
Hua’y Chen-54 year old female from New York City, New York was a passenger on the bus. She sustained multiple traumatic injuries after being partially ejected and pinned under the bus. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Idil Bahsi-30 year old female from Istanbul, Turkey was a passenger on the bus. She sustained multiple traumatic injuries and was transported to the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center where she was pronounced dead on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 10:45 p.m.
Through continued investigation and interviews, CRU Detectives were able to determine that Zhao was operating the tour bus at an unsafe speed as it entered the curve of the off ramp. The unsafe speed was determined to be a contributing factor which caused the bus to travel off of the roadway and overturn, causing the death of the 2 female passengers.
Jinli Zhao-56 year old male operator of the tour bus was treated and admitted to the Saint Francis Hospital, Wilmington with non-life threatening injuries.
He was released on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at approximately 4:00 p.m. into the custody of Troopers. He was transported to Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Newark, where he was formally charged and arraigned.
Jinli Zhao was charged with the Operation of a Vehicle Causing Death of Another Person (2 counts). He was arraigned and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on $5000.00 Secured Bond. (No booking photo available at time of this release)
The Delaware State Police Collison Reconstruction Unit (CRU) along with the Delaware State Police Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Unit (MCSAP), continue to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this crash and the identification of any other contributing factors which led to this crash. Preliminary investigation has determined that drugs and alcohol is NOT considered a contributing factor. Additional charges are likely to be filed at the investigation progresses.
NTSB continues to conduct an independent investigation. All inquiries in reference to their ongoing investigation can be directed to the NTSB
No further investigative updates are available at this time. Further information will be released as the investigation progresses.