On December 5, 2018, authorities reported that a semi-trailer truck going the wrong way on Interstate 74 near Bloomington, Indiana, collided headfirst with a high school bus carrying the Normal West High School junior varsity girls’ basketball team. Both the driver of the semi and the school bus driver died, and eight of the girls on the bus as well as their coach suffered injuries.
The wife of the school bus driver recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking firm the truck driver was working for, as well as the truck driver’s estate.
Semi-Truck Trailer Collides Head-On with School Bus
At the time of the crash, which was about 8:30 at night, the team was on their way home from an away game in Champaign. The 72-year-old school bus driver was a volunteer with the team and suffered severe injuries in the crash. He was treated at the hospital, but did not survive.
A total of 12 people were involved in the crash—11 on the bus plus the driver of the semi-truck. Three people were airlifted from the scene. The team’s coach suffered from several broken bones. Two of the students were also taken to the hospital in critical condition, but they also thankfully survived.
Widow Files Lawsuit Against Truck Driver’s Employer
The plaintiff filed the lawsuit in McLean County Circuit Court. She seeks over $50,000 plus costs from the trucking company, Jason Farrell Trucking, the owner of that company, Jason Farrell. The company is based out of Clinton, Iowa.
The truck driver was only 34 years old and left behind a wife and three young sons. He is accused in the lawsuit of failing to reduce his speed to avoid a collision, failing to realize he was driving the wrong way, driving with impaired judgment, and failing to obey traffic laws, among other allegations. The plaintiffs believe he mistakenly drove onto the interstate from an exit ramp.
According to NewsChannel20, his employer, Ferrell, stated he was a good employee and had never had any driving issues.
The plaintiff plans to establish a scholarship at the high school with money from any settlement she may receive.
Number of Large Truck and Bus Accidents Has Increased Since 2009
When a truck driver is an employee (and not an independent contractor), his or her employer may be held liable for any crashes the driver gets into while on the job. A plaintiff may sue the driver, but typically, a company is better situated to provide sufficient funds to help victims recover from severe injuries and their related costs.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that in 2016, a total of 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 2-percent increase from 2015. The number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes also increased 29 percent from its low in 2009 of 3,432.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.