The mother of a teen severely injured in a March 13 bus crash near Mobile, Alabama, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the charter bus company.
The First Class Tours bus was transporting 46 passengers, mostly members of the Channelview High School band, home to the Houston area after a performance at Disney World when it plunged 50 feet down a ravine and flipped onto its side.
The bus crash killed the bus driver and sent all of the 40 students and six adults to the hospital with injuries.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the mother suing First Class Tours said her son suffered a severe head scalping injury in the bus crash and continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Defendants betrayed the trust bestowed upon them by over 40 teenage children and members of the Channelview High School Band onboard the charter bus,” the lawsuit asserts, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The bus had been traveling overnight from Orlando on I-10 West when it crossed over a grassy median that abruptly ends at a deep ravine. The bus plummeted down the steep embankment and toppled over at the bottom near Cowpen Creek.
The crash occurred near the Florida-Alabama line and the injured were taken to hospitals in Pensacola and Mobile.
An autopsy by the Baldwin County Coroner’s Office determined that the driver, 65-year-old Harry Caligone, died of blunt force trauma. Authorities haven’t determined what caused Mr. Caligone to drive off the highway. Various sources report that they haven’t ruled out a heart attack or other medical condition. They also believe he could have fallen asleep at the wheel. The driver’s family says neither explanation fits with the man who had made the spring break trip to Disney World for several years.
Mr. Caligone would have ended his shift around 6:00 in Mobile, Alabama, where a relief driver would have taken over. The crash occurred about 5:30 a.m.
According to the Houston Chronicle, First Class Tours has been involved in bus crashes four other times in the past 24 months, including one incident that resulted in death.
In that incident, one of the company’s 58 buses struck and killed a 73-year-old woman in a downtown Houston crosswalk after failing to yield to a pedestrian.