It has been just over three months since an Oregon bus crash in the Cabbage Hill area in the east of the state killed nine people and injured 38. As official investigations and a search for answers move forward, The Oregonian reports that lawsuits accusing the state Department of Transportation of negligence have now been filed by the loved ones of three of the Oregon bus crash victims, as well as by at least one of the accident’s survivors.
As the Associated Press reports, and as I blogged at the time, the deadly Oregon Bus Crash last December took place when a tour bus “slid on ice east of Pendleton, crashed through a guardrail and rolled down a steep hill.” Pictures published at the time showed a gruesome scene of wreckage on the snow-covered mountain pass.
According to the newspaper, relatives of the victims “are seeking at least $10 million in punitive damages, injuries and wrongful death… The suit claims ODOT was negligent for failing to equip the stretch of Interstate 84 with barriers strong enough to prevent the bus from leaving the roadway; not adequately plowing and sanding the freeway; failing to warn motorists of unsafe conditions; and failing to require commercial vehicles to take an alternative route.” The Canadian company that owned the vehicle, along with the bus driver, are also named as defendants in the suit, according to The Oregonian.
As I noted in an earlier post, the accident, coming just before New Year’s Eve, raised many questions concerning safety on Cabbage Hill, which has long been regarded as one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the Western United States.
The accident also raised questions about safety regulations and their enforcement for tour buses. The lawsuit claims that the bus’ owner “was negligent for numerous reasons, including not equipping the bus with tire chains; allowing the driver to operate the bus an excessive number of hours without rest; and speeding” according to The Oregonian.The crash and its aftermath have raised a number of legal issues that are likely to take some time to resolve. As an Oregon motor vehicle accident attorney it concerns me that that victims and their families should have to resort to the court system to get the sort of assurances over safety that all of us ought to be able to take for granted in 21st century America.
AP via ABC News: Oregon Agency Sued Over Deadly I-84 Tour Bus Crash