Bond hearing for bus driver continued after new details - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Bond hearing for bus driver continued after new details revealed

CAROLINE, VA (WWBT) - New details uncovered by federal agents with the National Transportation Safety Board show the bus driver involved in the deadly crash along Interstate-95 in Caroline County in the early morning hours of May 31, 2011 hasn't been honest about his home address.

That new information that was revealed in court Wednesday morning complicated the driver's bond hearing Caroline County.

In order for the circuit court judge to determine if 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung should be granted bond two questions must be answered: is he a danger to the community and is he a flight risk.

After nearly two hours of back and forth between the defense and prosecution, the 37-year-old father of two young children was sent back to jail. The judge continued the hearing and won't make a decision until proceedings start again Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

Tony Spencer, Commonwealth's Attorney in Caroline County, told the court Kin Yiu Cheung is a flight risk. Hours before the bond hearing, Spencer said he received a call from the NTSB.  Federal agents paid a visit to a home in Flushing, New York. It's the home where Cheung said he lived during questioning after the crash. 

But a woman at the Flushing, NY home told investigators she's lived there for the last 4-5 years. Cheung hadn't lived there during her stay, she does not know him. The woman told investigators she knew that Cheung had listed her address as his home address in the past. 

In court, Spencer told the judge because Cheung was not forthcoming with that information, he cannot be trusted and could flee the country if granted bond. 

After a nearly one hour recess, Cheung's wife took testified to their place of residence over the last several years. She told the judge she met the Hong Kong native in Burke, VA. They've been married since 2003. In 2010 they moved to New York, living in Flushing for a brief period. She said the family recently settled in Elmhurst, New York near Manhattan. 

Cheung became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1995 after moving from Hong Kong. The status of his original passport used to gain entry into the United States is unknown. His wife testified that she believed he turned the passport over when he became a U.S. citizen. Cheung also has a passport from the United States of America. His wife testified that since they've been married, her husband as traveled to Hong Kong twice. The most recent trip was in November 2009. 

Spencer told the judge he spoke with federal customs agents who did not find any proof that Cheung has ever left the country after becoming a U.S. citizen. Spencer said he fears Cheung may have a second passport, and if he does, he may use it to flee the country before his trial. 

Spencer noted the possible 40-year prison sentence Cheung faces if found guilty of four felony counts of involuntary manslaughter. Spencer told the judge, Cheung is the sole provider for his family, and that stiff punishment makes him a flight risk. 

Spencer also mentioned SkyExpress, the bus company involved in that deadly crash, is paying Cheung's legal fees. Spencer said the bus company is taking heat for trying to disguise it's business to stay open after the crash.

The defense attorney for Kin Yiu Cheung said his client is willing to turn over his commercial driver's license and U.S. passport. The defense claims that is the only passport in Cheung's possession. Cheung doesn't have a criminal record. 

Cheung's original charge was reckless driving. A general district judge granted a $3,000 bond for that charge. The defense attorney told the judge, the bondsman was sitting in the Caroline Count courtroom because he felt comfortable that Cheung would not run if granted bond for the four felony charges.

After stating that he needed more documents, including Cheung's passport, the judge decided to continue the bond hearing to the following week. 

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