ACCOMAC, Va. (Delmarva Now) -- Accomack County prosecutors have dropped charges against a New York charter bus driver involved in an accident in March 2015 that killed a pedestrian.
The accident happened March 31, 2015, south of the Perdue Farms processing plant on Route 13 near Accomac.
Brice Sauver, 66, was killed as he was trying to cross Route 13, according to a report at the time.
In court Thursday, the Commonwealth entered a nolle prosequi in the case against Jihua Chen, of Flushing, New York, who had been charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
Nolle prosequi is a legal term meaning the state will no longer prosecute the charges.
Commonwealth Attorney Spencer Morgan told the court Thursday he chose to dismiss the case against Chen because “the Commonwealth has never been able to find a witness to say the defendant knew it was a human being he struck.”
According to testimony in court during the trial, Chen, who speaks little English, was the driver of a United Bus and Travel Inc. bus traveling from New York to Virginia Beach when the accident happened at around 3 a.m.
Later, Chen told police he thought he struck a deer. He said he got out of the bus, looked around, and found a headlight on the roadway and put it in his bus.
He then called his boss at United Bus and Travel Inc. and told him he struck a deer. He said through a speakerphone translation at his preliminary hearing in 2016 that his boss told him to continue on to Virginia Beach if the passengers were unhurt and the bus safe to drive.
Shortly before 8 a.m. the day of the accident, a passerby called police to report seeing a body on the side of the road. Along with the body, a blue helmet and a blue boot, officers found a windshield wiper blade, a headlight lens cover and a piece of the body of the vehicle showing its color that identified it as a bus.
Officers viewed the security film at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and saw a bus that matched the color of the debris. It was traced to a company in Virginia Beach. They found Chen there and interviewed him.
He produced his bus log and told them he thought he struck a deer. He agreed to return to Accomack County and took officers to the exact location where the accident occurred.
Chen was arrested for hit-and-run and later released on a $15,000 bond.
Morgan told the court the victim was dressed in all black and the night was dark.
He said a bus passenger confirmed at the time that Chen thought he had struck a deer.