The mother of a 15-year-old river tubing guide who was killed in a work-related bus crash last summer said she was “not surprised” that prosecutors would not press criminal charges against the bus driver, but said she hopes her son’s death would lead to new state safety regulations that would make bus trips safer.
Hunter Scofield, a National Honor Society student who had just completed his sophomore year at Hadley-Luzerne High School in Lake Luzerne, N.Y., was killed July 5, 2014, when a bus owned by his employer, Tubby Tubes Co., missed its turn, careened off an embankment, and flipped.
Hunter was taking a group to the Hudson River for a tubing outing when the accident occurred. He was thrown from the door of the bus where he had been standing.
Daniel Shippy, the driver, told police that the brakes on the bus had failed as he slowed down to make a turn on a winding road along the Hudson River in Luzerne. Instead of coming to a stop, the bus went off the road and flipped, nearly landing in the river.
Investigators initially focused on a possible mechanical failure in the 25-year-old former school bus, but found the brakes and everything else to be in working order.
After State Police issued an accident reconstruction report, Warren County authorities decided to issue traffic tickets, but said that the evidence didn’t justify homicide or any other criminal charges against Mr. Shippy.
The traffic tickets, which will be issued in the next few days, are for unsafe speed, inappropriate speed at an intersection, and improper turn. The tickets are punishable by jail terms of up to 15 days, the Post-Star reported, and fines up to $150 for the two speed-related charges and $100 for the improper turn charge are possible.
Linda Scofield, told the Post-Star that the investigation’s findings didn’t surprise her but added that, “Unfortunately, the findings of the report will not change the outcome.”
“We assumed that no person would ever be allowed to stand in the doorway of a moving bus regardless of the business; sadly, we were wrong,” Ms. Scofield told the Post-Star. “We hope that this tragic accident will prompt regulations regarding the safety of busing workers and passengers on tubing/rafting excursions.”