Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

On Aug. 31, 2015, 34-year-old Carrie Scheetz, a teacher, was driving home from work on a county road in Rock Creek Township, Ill., when a school bus approached a four-way intersection at a stop sign. There was no stop sign for traffic traveling in Scheetz’s direction.

Scheetz could see the school bus, which was driven by the defendant, Steven D. Holsted, approaching the intersection, about three-quarters of a mile away. Scheetz and the school bus did not slow down or stop at the intersection.

As Scheetz approached the intersection traveling at approximately 82 mph in a 55-mph zone, the bus was about to cross the intersection when the two vehicles crashed.

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Jaccolah Johnson was 66 and had limited mobility when she used the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) mobility bus to get to appointments and other local trips.

On one occasion, Johnson attempted to exit the bus while carrying two bags with one arm and a Bible tucked underneath the other arm. Johnson refused the driver’s offer of assistance, and the driver stayed buckled into his seat.

She walked down the bus’s angled steps, lost her balance, fell down the steps, and hit the back of her head on the curb.

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Joan Grove was standing at an intersection in downtown Pittsburgh during rush hour. She was in her fifties at the time. While a bus was attempting to pass another car near the intersection, the driver of that commuter bus came close to the curb where Grove stood. The bus struck Grove, and she fell to the ground.

While lying on the ground, the bus’s rear wheel ran over her right lower leg. Grove suffered a crush injury to that leg. She later developed a MRSA infection and osteomyelitis, which led to the amputation of her leg.

Grove sued the Port Authority of Allegheny County claiming that its driver chose not to keep a proper lookout during rush hour. The defendant maintained that Grove had stepped into the bus’s path by standing on the outside curb margin.

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In 2000, Boston attorney Richard Brody took a case that seemed at the time to be an obvious, straight-forward liability case that would most likely settle quickly — maybe without even filing a lawsuit. The case involved serious injuries suffered by another trial lawyer, Odin Anderson.

On Sept. 20, 1998 Anderson was crossing an intersection in a crosswalk after a long lunch in which he drank alcohol, when a bus, turning left, hit him before he reached the middle of the street. Anderson suffered a fractured skull and stopped breathing. Fortunately for him, the bus, owned by Partners Healthcare, was transporting a group of doctors. Several of the doctors acted on Anderson’s injury and administered CPR. Anderson, however, suffered a traumatic brain injury that required rehabilitation to walk, speak and perform daily activities.

Today he still has memory loss, a decreased sense of smell and problems with executive functions and higher-level thinking. He did return to practice law, but he must refer complicated cases to other attorneys. The insurance company for the bus company, American International Group Inc. (AIG) instead of settling this obvious liability case, concocted a new set of facts, suppressed evidence and fought payment of a judgment until it was ordered to honor a jury verdict 8 years later.

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G3 Enterprises, a wine and beverage packaging and transportation company, had a long-term subhauling contract with Sun Valley Express Transport Inc. Sun Valley in turn contracted with Velazquez & Sons Trucking Co. to haul grapes using G3’s trailers. Velazquez & Sons assigned its new driver, Juan Velazquez, to do the job, which was coordinated and dispatched by G3.

As Velazquez was driving a big rig, hauling G3‘s double trailer on the highway, he crashed into a charter bus driven by Jimmy Duncan. The bus then crashed into attenuator barrels before becoming trapped between the big rig and the wall of an overpass. Rescue workers had to use the Jaws of Life to evacuate injured passengers of the bus.

Duncan, 50, was rushed to a hospital’s emergency department suffering from pain, nausea and dizziness. He was diagnosed with chest and abdominal contusions and neck and low back strain. However, the X-rays showed narrowing of Duncan’s spinal canal, which caused compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots at C6-7, narrowing of the space between L2-3 and L3-4 vertebrae, with pockets of air between the disks. The impact of the crash also aggravated Duncan’s pre-existing spinal injuries from which he had undergone two prior surgeries.

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On Oct. 10, 2008, 12-year-old Ryan Walsh and his cousin were riding their bikes to school at Thompson Junior High School in Oswego, Ill.  They were traveling northbound on the sidewalk along Boulder Hill Pass.  Ryan was crossing the school’s driveway apron when the defendant school bus full of students made a right turn into the driveway.  This caused a collision with Ryan and his bike in the crosswalk.

The impact between Ryan’s bike and the school bus occurred between the bicycle and the passenger side of the bus immediately behind the front tire.  This caused Ryan to become lodged underneath the bus and be dragged 10-15 feet, according to the bus driver.

Ryan sustained a right-sided L-5 transverse process fracture, right-sided S-1 fracture, puncture wound to the right buttocks, road rash and abrasions to his hands, arms and legs.  Ryan later developed permanent degeneration of his lumbar spine with a bulging L4-5 disc.  His medical bills were $49,452.

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Fong Yang was 16 years old with diagnoses of severe autism and Down syndrome.  Fong had a history of running away from his Fresno school when left unsupervised. 

Because of Fong’s tendency to run off, his teacher told the First Student bus dispatcher that the bus driver should not drop off Fong early at school or allow him to get off the bus after school en route to his home unless he was accompanied by an aide. 

Despite these instructions, Fong’s bus driver let him get off the bus without an aide. Fong ran half a block to an intersection, where he was hit by a car and thrown about 30 feet. Fong suffered a skull fracture, an epidural hematoma and multiple abrasions.  His medical bills totaled $78,500.

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Officials at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believe that U.S. truck and bus regulators are not catching on to serious safety hazards before fatal crashes occur.  The NTSB has stated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has known about deficiencies in bus company practices before some fatal crashes, but the agency took no steps to correct them.  The FMCSA has known about these deficiencies before the fatal accidents took place, but did not take any action to shut down carriers until afterward.  The NTSB chairman said in a statement that some of these cases are under investigation by the agency. 

The report said that there has been a long period of time — maybe years — that the FMCSA has chosen not to take action against some bus companies despite repeated safety citations. The report also reinforced the fact that the FMCSA did nothing to take some of the dangerous buses out of service and off the road. 

The chairman of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said in a statement that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration needs to crack down before more deadly crashes occur, not just after high-visibility events.  Ms. Hersman also said that poor performing bus companies were on the FMCSA’s radar for safety violations, but they did not take any action and allowed these bus companies to continue operating.

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Every school day, children are loaded onto school buses around the country.  Most school districts contract with school bus companies and drivers to transport our children to their schools. 

If something goes terribly wrong and a child is injured in a school bus crash, you need someone to advocate and fight for your family’s rights. 

Negligence by a school bus driver or another motorist can cause school bus collisions.  It is known that school bus drivers can be distracted by cell phones and GPS devices, just as other motorists can.

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has stated that U.S. truck and bus regulators are not taking steps to prevent serious safety hazards before fatal crashes.  The NTSB claims that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has known about deficiencies in bus company practices before some fatal crashes but took no steps to correct them.  The government agency, FMCSA, has known about these deficiencies before the deadly fatal accidents, but did not take any action to shut down carriers until afterwards.  The National Transportation Safety Board chairman said in a statement that some are under investigation by the agency. 

The report said that there has been a long period of time, maybe years, that the FMCSA has chosen not to take action against some bus companies despite repeated safety citations.  The report also reinforced the fact that the FMCSA did nothing to take some of the buses off the road. 

The chairman of NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said in a statement that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration needs to crack down before crashes occur, not just after high visibility events.  Ms. Hersman also stated that poorly performing bus companies were on the FMCSA’s radar for violations, but the federal regulators didn’t take any action and allowed these bus companies to continue operating.

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