Commercial buses, school buses and tractor-trailers are big and heavy. This means that when they are involved in motor vehicle accidents, the potential for serious or fatal injuries is often greater than in crashes that only involve passenger cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. For example, a recent Florida crash on U.S. Highway 98 involving an old school bus and an 18-wheeler resulted in the death of five people, and approximately 25 people suffered a variety of injuries.
A 1979 school bus occupied by 34 adults and children, who were reported farm workers, failed to stop at a flashing red light and blew through a stop sign before ramming into a tractor-trailer just behind the driver’s door. The impact caused the bus to spin around and hit the semi truck again. When the vehicles came to a rest, the bus was on fire.
When emergency responders arrived, they pulled as many people out of the bus as possible before it was fully engulfed, along with the truck. The flames could not be put out until the power company shut off the power to the utility pole the vehicles were up against. Of the five people that died in the crash, one was a child, and one was the driver of the tractor-trailer.
No information was provided regarding any criminal charges that might be filed against the critically injured bus driver. The families of the deceased farm workers, the family of the truck driver and the seriously injured victims retain the right to file wrongful death or personal injury claims in a Florida civil court. Establishing that the deaths and the injuries suffered were due to the negligence of another could result in awards of damages seen in other motor vehicle accidents being made to the victims and/or their families.
Source: ABC News, “Florida Authorities Say 5 Dead, 25 Injured in Florida Crash“, Kelli Kennedy, July 2, 2016