Earlier this week, in Mississippi, a crash involving a Texas tour bus stalled on the train tracks killed four people and injured 35 more. Now, lawsuits have begun to emerge from both the survivors and family of the deceased against the tour bus company which claim that the bus driver took an unapproved route and thereby caused the accident. The lawsuits are also being filed against the railroad operator CSX Transportation, citing the trains apparent failure to apply brakes appropriately to avoid the crash.
The bus became lodged on the tracks after the driver “failed to heed the warning sign located near the track that warned of a ‘humped' crossing, ”according to a lawsuit filed by survivors Darwyn and Maria Hanna. When the bus became stuck on the tracks, another survivor of the traumatic accident told the Associated Press that “the bus driver yelled for all the passengers to get off shortly before the train hit.
Some of the passengers were able to evacuate the vehicle before the train struck the bus, but most of the 50 passengers were not so lucky.
Two lawsuits have been filed against the railroad operator and the bus tour company, Echo Tours and Charters, which was carrying seniors on a weeklong trip organized by a seniors' center in Bastrop,Texas, located 30 miles east of Austin. The family of Peggy and Kenneth Hoffman filed a claim against the two businesses for negligence and wrongful death, while Darwyn and Maria Hanna are filing for negligence on their own behalf.
According to one lawsuit, the particular crossing in question had a history of crashes, making it “ultra-hazardous and dangerous.” In fact, since 1976, the crossing had witnessed 17 accidents between cars and trucks, including two recent crashes involving a truck and a tractor trailer which were each similarly caught on the tracks due to the large hump.
The lawsuits also allege that the unidentified tour bus driver was using a route planned by GPS instead of the one recommended by the company for which he was driving. The bus was part of a three part convoy. The other two were following given directions.
The attorney who is representing Peggy and Kenneth Hoffman's son blames both transportation companies for the accident, and criticizes CSX for failing to repair the intersection which had already caused a substantial number of crashes: "Instead of fixing it they put up a sign warning that vehicles could get caught. The bus driver either didn't see the sign or, if he did, went over anyway, resulting in the deaths of four good people and injuries to 25 or 30 others."
In many car, bus, or truck accidents, there may be multiple parties responsible for injuries, including transportation companies who are legally obligated to maintain their infrastructure and vehicles. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in such an accident, call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today, or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We will work to find you compensation and peace of mind in a trying time.