The Baltimore school bus driver who lost control of his bus in November and struck a commuter bus, killing six and injuring 11 others, had been wrongly cleared to drive a bus despite a history of pervious crashes and serious health problems, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims claims.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the lawsuit alleges that 67-year-old school bus driver Glenn Chappell had a history of seizures, hypertension, and diabetes, which should have disqualified him from driving a commercial vehicle under federal and state laws. Mr. Chappell was one of the six people killed in the Nov. 1 crash.
Mr. Chappell also lacked a valid commercial driver’s license because he did not produce signed papers detailing his medical history and physical exams, which are required for commercial drivers license applications and renewal.
Yet Texas-based health care corporation Concentra, which provides medical certifications for commercial drivers, approved Mr. Chappell to drive a bus despite his poor health, the lawsuit claims.
Mr. Chappell was driving a school bus for Baltimore City Public Schools when the vehicle rammed the back of a Ford Mustang, struck a cement pillar, and veered into the oncoming lane where it collided with a Maryland Transit Administration bus.
In addition to Mr. Chappell, the crash killed the driver of the MTA bus and four of the commuter bus passengers. Eleven others were hospitalized with crash injuries ranging from moderate to critical. There were no children on Mr. Chappell’s school bus at the time.
“The National Transportation Safety Board reported last month that Baltimore school officials had been alerted for years to crashes involving Chappell and to criminal charges against him, yet did not disqualify him from transporting students,” the Baltimore Sun reported. Moreover, the NTSB investigation identified a number of “deficiencies” in the vetting process for school bus drivers.
The lawsuit seeks at least $10 million in damages and class-action status for the victims of the crash. In addition to Concentra, the suit also names Mr. Chappell’s employer, AAAfordable Transportation and its owners, Tracy and Aliyu Dabo, as defendants.