Three North Seattle College students who were severely injured when a Ride the Ducks amphibious tour bus crashed into their charter bus in September want to add the city of Seattle and the state of Washington as co-defendants to a lawsuit they filed earlier in King County Superior Court.
According to The Seattle Times, Phuong Dinh, Mazda Hutapea, and Yuta Masumota are already suing the Ride the Ducks of Seattle and its parent company in addition to the driver of the Duck bus. Five passengers were killed when the vintage Ride the Ducks amphibious tour bus veered out of control on a narrow Seattle bridge and collided with the charter bus. Sixty-four passengers were injured, many of them severely.
If a judge approves their motions, the amended lawsuits will hold the city and state partially responsible for the crash. The motions allege that both governments are partially liable because they have failed to correct the stretch of Highway 99 that crosses the Aurora Bridge despite the number of accidents that have occurred there over the years due to its dangerously narrow width and lack of median barriers between the lanes, which would have prevented the Ride the Ducks bus from crossing into the charter bus’s lane.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs told The Seattle Times that the city and state knew that the bridge needed improvements.
“They’ve admitted it’s dangerous, they know it’s dangerous, and they’ve actually come up with suggestions for how to fix this bridge,” the lawyer told The Seattle Times. “But they never fixed it, and our experts are just appalled at how bad this bridge is.”
The city also could have taken action to prevent the heavy, oversized Ride the Ducks bus from using the dangerously narrow Aurora Bridge, but did nothing to prevent it from crossing routinely as part of its daily tours.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and found the bus had a defective axel that broke as it was crossing the bridge, causing the driver to lose control and veer into oncoming traffic.
Source: The Seattle Times