Bus accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of a recent crash in Chicago, on the Far South Side, involving a CTA bus, a dump truck, and two other vehicles. The crash occurred just before 10 p.m., critically injuring the bus driver and seriously injuring three others.
The Number 6 Jackson Park Express bus was turning into the 103rd Street Garage when the dump truck traveling westbound struck it, causing two other vehicles to be involved in the crash. Fortunately, the bus was not in service at the time, although two other people were on board the bus, who were fellow CTA employees.
Paramedics took the CTA employees, along with the dump truck driver, to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Emergency responder crews had to cut the bus driver out of the wreckage. One of the drivers of a vehicle involved in the crash was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital in fairly serious condition.
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In related news out of Kansas City, a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against the operators of a party bus. A young woman fell from the party bus, owned and operated by Midnight Express, which was recently ordered by the federal government to cease operations. The company reportedly has a history of unsafe practices, including removing safety features from vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation went so far as to state the company had an “appalling” disregard for safety.
On the night the young woman was killed, the driver of the bus had unlatched the double doors, previously used to accommodate wheelchair passengers, so that a cooler could be loaded on the bus. The driver then closed the doors from the inside while passengers entered onto the bus from the front door.
Just a few short minutes later, the double doors suddenly and unexpectedly flew open, and the 26-year-old woman was sucked out the doors from inside the bus. She fell onto the highway, where she was hit by at least three vehicles and died.
The lawsuit, filed in the name of her infant daughter, names Midnight Express, the driver, and Midnight Express’ operators, Adam Breidenthal and Derrick Hansroth. According to the lawsuit, Midnight Express bought this particular vehicle in 2010, used, and made extensive modifications to it, including the removal of some safety features that could have saved her life.
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In fact, upon investigation, the Department of Transportation said that the company’s operation structure and safety management controls were so deficient that they significantly increased the likelihood that passengers would suffer serious injury or death. A post-accident inspection of the bus by the Kansas Highway Patrol found numerous glaring regulatory safety violations, including unusable emergency exits.
Kansas troopers found the exit windows to be blocked by seats, and the rear emergency exit was blocked by an icebox that had a release latch that was jammed and inoperable. State inspectors also found no emergency exit signs, and the one fire extinguisher on board was empty. The brake pedal and engine exhaust system on the bus were also defective and deficient.
Ultimately, the Kansas office of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that Midnight Express failed in almost every way to comply with federal safety standards. It did not carry any liability insurance required for passenger vehicles, and it was operating without a required federal transportation number. In its final words, the federal report noted that the company’s most blatant example of disregard for safety was reflected in its complete failure to implement a system of equipment inspection.
Bus accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind the public that companies that transport passengers for hire are required to follow all federal and state regulations designed to protect public safety. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a bus crash, you have important legal rights. You may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.