NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia State Police are still investigating after a deadly accident over the weekend involving a party bus. It happened early Sunday morning in Downtown Norfolk.
Troopers say a passenger, identified as Norfolk resident Kisha Latrice Marrow-Lott, died at the scene after she slipped and fell out of the bus door as it was getting onto the interstate from Waterside Drive.
Although State Police are investigating, officials say state law doesn’t apply in cases like this. Once vehicles exceed a certain size and number of passengers they fall under federal regulation.
10 On Your Side spoke with local businessman Keith Stone about the safety regulations they have to abide by. Stone is the owner and president of Goldstarr Limousine. He’s worked in the limo business for more than three decades.
“Everybody just needs to keep in mind that we are safety oriented and basically that’s our utmost importance,” explained Stone.
First, there are qualifications for the drivers.
“A driver has got to be qualified,” Stone said. “They have to hold the right license, that’s the first thing. Then they have to be trained in this bus.”
Stone says it’s the drivers responsibility to make sure there’s a safe number of passengers on board. In one of Goldstarr’s party buses there are 18 seatbelts. Stone says that means 18 passengers and no more, however Stone went on to say the law doesn’t require passengers to actually buckle up.
“It’s not required for them to wear them in the rear area of these passenger vehicles and when I say that it’s a gray area,” said Stone.
There are also laws regulating the vehicles themselves. They get inspected regularly to make sure they are in tip top shape.
“In Virginia they are pretty tough,” said Stone. “As long as you follow their guidelines and you don’t put profit above safety you’ll be alright.”