A bus crash in the early morning hours of December 3, 2018, killed one child and injured at least 45 others victims the wreck occurred shortly after 2:30 am on Monday when a charter bus driver lost control of the vehicle on Interstate 30 near Benton, Arkansas. The team was returning home to Memphis, Tennessee.
According to authorities, the charter bus was operated by Scott Shuttle Service of Somerville, and had be transporting the Orange Mound Youth Association football team from an All-Star game in Dallas over the weekend. Players and children aboard the bus were between the ages of 8 to 12 years old, and had adult coaches and parents accompanying them.
In initial statements from Arkansas State Police, the driver of the bus had reportedly stated she lost control of the charter carrier, causing it to depart from the Interstate and roll down an embankment before coming to rest on its side.
At least one child died in the crash, and at least 45 other victims suffered injuries. Victims were taken to local hospitals in Pulaski and Saline Counties, with two being airlifted. Officials from Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock said the hospital received over 20 patients following the morning crash.
Moving Forward: How Families Can Seek Justice
As a firm that has been serving communities across Tennessee Since 1977, our team at Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge expresses our condolences to all families affected by this tragedy. While authorities are still looking into the incident, we want to remind our fellow Tennesseans that major crashes such as these demand meticulous investigation and review. These investigations – whether conducted by local authorities, state police, federal regulators, or independent legal counsel and investigators – are critical not only to public safety, but also to producing the answers families deserve and need as they seek justice.
Although there is still much to be learned about the circumstances leading up to the crash, initial police reports indicate the driver of the bus did admit to losing control. The key question is why.
Having handled all types of motor vehicle accidents, including large-scale bus accidents and commercial vehicle and trucking collisions, we know there are many potential causes of wrecks like these. As authorities and investigators shift their attention to finding an underlying cause, they will be looking closely for any signs of negligence, as well as potential commercial carrier violations, as the private charter bus was subject to interstate carrier rules enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Some of the potential factors investigators will explore may include:
- Speeding, reckless driving, and moving violations
- Distracted driving, including cell phone use or texting
- Drunk or drugged driving / violations of drug and alcohol regulations
- Driver fatigue / violations of federal Hours-of-Service Rules
- Negligent hiring or retention of unqualified or untrained drivers
- Failures to properly maintain vehicles
- Vehicle defects or defective auto parties (i.e. brake failure)
Though there may be many potential causes, uncovering any violations, acts of negligence, or wrongdoing will be vital in the fight for accountability. For example, investigations into a fatal bus crash in Chattanooga in 2016 that left six school children dead revealed the driver had been speeding and using a cell phone at the time of the wreck. He was ultimately convicted on multiple counts of criminally negligent homicide, reckless aggravated assault, and assault.
Though criminal charges are a real possibility in devastating wrecks such as these, it’s important to remember they do not always happen, nor do they offer victims any meaningful source of compensation. That financial compensation and the justice victims and families deserve must be pursued through civil personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, which are handled separately in the civil justice system, and filed against parties which caused or contributed to the wreck, such as private commercial transportation companies, product manufacturers, and others.
Our attorneys are hopeful families affected by this crash will obtain the answers they need. As nationally recognized trial lawyers with a proven record of success in challenging accident cases, we make ourselves available to victims harmed in any motor vehicle accident across the state of Tennessee, and are poised and prepared to immediately begin independent investigations, educate clients about their rights and options, and guide them through the legal journey ahead.
To speak with a lawyer from Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge about your potential accident case, call (615) 933-2893 or contact us online for a free and confidential case review. Our team is available 24/7.