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Airport Bus Crash Results in Civil Liability, Criminal Charges

While we tend to think of tour buses as being incredibly safe due to their impressive size and significant weight, the simple reality is that these vehicles are far from invincible. In fact, passengers routinely lose their lives or suffer serious personal injuries in bus accidents here in Tennessee and across the U.S.

To illustrate, consider a tragic bus collision in Florida at this time last year, which took the lives of three passengers.

During the morning hours of December 1, 2012, a charter bus carrying 31 passengers to a religious gathering in West Palm Beach was making its through the roadways around Miami International Airport when its upper section crashed directly into the airport’s lower level arrival entrance. Sadly, the sheer impact of the collision killed three passengers.

A preliminary investigation would later reveal that the tour bus, which measured nearly 12 feet in height, was too tall for the overpass, which measured only 10 feet in height.

Those left victimized by the bus crash understandably sought to hold both the bus driver and charter bus company accountable for their actions, filing multiple negligence lawsuits in civil court.

As it turns out, law enforcement officials are also seeking to hold one of the parties accountable for their actions, as the 48-year-old bus driver was charged with reckless driving and three counts of felony vehicular homicide just last week.

Police reports indicate that the bus driver, who held a valid commercial license at the time of the wreck, exceeded the posted speed limit, failed to take any sort of evasive maneuver prior to the collision and, perhaps most significantly, disregarded a construction zone and eight warning signs announcing a low clearance ahead.

“Despite the construction in the area, and the low clearance warning signs, the defendant continued into the airport entrance without stopping or slowing down,” reads the arrest warrant.

The bus driver, who has since bonded out of jail, is scheduled to appear before a judge for his arraignment later this month. Stay tuned for updates …

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash or bus accident here in Tennessee, remember to consider speaking with a dedicated legal professional to learn more about how you can pursue justice.

Source: The Miami Herald, “Bus driver in fatal Miami International Airport crash charged with felony vehicular homicide,” Daniel Chang, Nov. 29, 2013