A lawsuit filed for the family of a student injured in the deadly Chattanooga, Tenn., elementary school bus crash says the child will live with the effects of a traumatic brain injury, disability, pain, and dismemberment.
Plaintiff Shanquatta Byrd’s lawsuit is the third lawsuit filed against Durham School Services, the corporate owner and operator of the bus; its bus driver employee Johnthony Walker; and parent company National Express, in the aftermath of the Nov. 21 crash that killed six students and injured several others.
The lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court, asks for a jury trial and any damages the court finds appropriate for the child’s past and future medical care, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Ms. Byrd ‘s complaint asserts that Illinois-based Durham School Services, which has provided most of Hamilton County’s school buses and drivers for the past decade, was “grossly negligent” in hiring Mr. Walker.
Authorities investigating the crash say that Mr. Walker, 24, was driving at a “high speed” on a narrow winding road “well above the posted speed limit of 30 mph” when he lost control of the bus. The vehicle veered off the road, hit an elevated driveway and mailbox, and flipped over into a utility pole and tree.
Mr. Walker faces six counts of vehicular homicide and one count each of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. School children have complained about Mr. Walker’s driving in the past, saying he drove too fast and took sharp turns.
“It is heartbreaking whenever children are involved, especially when the crash was as preventable as this one appears to be,” one of the lawyers for the plaintiff said in a statement. “We believe that corporate negligence is very much at issue and we intend to get to the bottom of it so this does not happen again.”