HOUSTON, TX (09/15/2015) — At least one family is planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit after an HISD school bus fell from an overpass on Tuesday morning, killing two female students.
On the 15th of September, 2015, a school bus carrying students plunged over a highway overpass after it was struck by a car whose driver was a teacher in the same school district. The bus crash resulted in the death of two students and serious injuries to three other people, according to both police and school officials.
17-year-old Mariya Johnson died at the scene of the accident, while 14-year-old Janecia Chatman passed away at the hospital. The bus driver (45-year-old Louisa Pacheco)—along with other passengers on the bus—also went to the hospital, although their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening. The two injured passengers have been identified as siblings Brandon Williams and Lakeshia Williams (both 17).
Local police believe a car hit the bus on the front driver’s side after it swerved to avoid a crash with another vehicle. This caused the bus to pull to the right where it hit a guardrail and fell to the road below. The district reported that one of its teachers was driving the car that hit the bus and that she was also injured. It is unknown where she worked; district officials have only stated she does not teach in the same school the crash victims attended. It is unknown at this time if any charges will be filed.
The facts of the case.
At the time of the crash, the students were on their way to Furr High School. According to school officials, there were very few students on the bus because it was nearing the end of its route. Investigators are hoping to find out how the crash happened from cameras that were located along the highway or in close proximity. Investigators are also reviewing footage of seven security cameras that were aboard the bus as well.
School officials stated that the driver of the bus has been employed with the district for approximately three years and has no violations on their driving record. While the bus had lap belts, it is presently unknown whether the students were using them. The general manager of transportation reported wearing the belts is optional due to the difficulty it would present for drivers to enforce their use.
The family of 17-year-old Alyss Mariya Johnson has retained an attorney and plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit is said to include both drivers, and the family attorney says they may also file a a claim against the manufacturer of the guardrail (which could be related to the guardrail whistleblower lawsuit of 2014).
While many people uninvolved in the case might be upset or confused as to why the family has already hired a lawyer so quickly after the accident, you must understand that every day you wait to have an attorney start on your case, the harder it is to have a fair trial. This family’s child was killed as a result of no fault of her own. The family simply wants justice, and for changes to be made so that similar accidents are prevented in the future and other families are spared the grief of losing a child. You should never judge a grieving family simply for seeking justice after the death of their teenage daughter. If someone’s negligence caused the death of two young women and injuries to several others, that negligence should never be ignored.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident (or any type of motor vehicle accident), our law firm can help you recover the compensation you are owed. In order to contact our office for your free consultation, fill out the contact form on this page or call our office (24 hours a day) at 1-877-405-4313.