A Sky Express bus, heading to New York from North Carolina, went off the highway when driver Kin Yiu Cheung admitted he fell asleep.
The judge told Cheung he wiped four good souls from the planet, then sentenced Cheung to six years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
"Six years is appropriate. More would have been acceptable. I don't think less would have been," commented Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Spencer.
Inside the courtroom, Cheung faced the victims and their families. He said he was deeply sorry. He told the judge the accident will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Cheung's attorney said his client's employer, the now-defunct Charlotte-based discount carrier Sky Express, should share the blame.
"I don't think my client wanted to be driving that leg of the trip," said Cheung's attorney, Taylor Stone. "I think he was told to drive. I think I reiterated in my argument he is a hard-working man who is out there trying to support a family."
The judge called Cheung's apology heartfelt, but added that he did have a choice not to drive.