Extension Allowed Bus Company To Continue Operating Before Fatal Crash


CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - Three days before a Sky Express bus flipped over along Interstate 95, an unsatisfactory rating from federal regulators was supposed to take effect. An extension granted by the regulators allowed the bus company to continue operating.

Passengers like Tiffany Reid, who rode from New York to Charlotte on Tuesday, were appalled.

"That bus was completely on its roof, and I said, ‘Oh gosh, that could have been me,'" Reid said.

Eyewitness News showed Reid the government's inspection reports on Sky Express, which, until recently, gave the company a satisfactory rating despite dozens of violations for unsafe driving, driver fatigue and a rating in the bottom 1 percent in the country for overall driver fitness.

On Wednesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledged it had planned on shutting down Sky Express.

An unsatisfactory rating was proposed April 7. Sky Express appealed on May 11, but on May 13, regulators denied the appeal, saying Sky Express "did not demonstrate adequate corrective actions."

An unsatisfactory rating and automatic suspension of operations would have taken effect May 28, but regulators granted Sky Express a 10-day extension.

It wasn't until after the I-95 crash and the deaths of four passengers that regulators acted decisively and shut the bus company down.

Reid said it should have happened sooner.

"They need to address it as soon as possible," she said. "They can't just let it go, because things like this happen."

Previous Stories: June 1, 2011: U.S. DOT: SkyExpress Banned From Interstate Travel May 31, 2011: Bus Company In Va. Fatal Crash Cited For Violations