A school trip to Cedar Point could have ended in tragedy last week as one of the busses–carrying 12 middle school students plus two chaperones–drifted over the midline then careened into a ditch on Ohio 4 in Sherman Township. Fortunately, the bus did not roll over, and only six students suffered minor scrapes and bruises and a chaperone was sent to a medical center in nearby Norwalk, then released. After the incident, the driver was arrested and has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, operating a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license, child endangering, and failure to control. Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to all charges in Bellevue Municipal Court. He later posted his $4000 cash bond and was released from Huron County jail.
According to witnesses the driver was passed out at the wheel before the accident, and police say he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of.103, well over the legal limit of 0.08 for all drivers and the 0.04 established for commercial drivers, such as would be required to legally drive the bus.
This bus accident is not the product of a single rogue driver, it seems to be part of a larger problem of negligence at the charter bus company, which, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol employed this driver despite the fact that he had no valid commercial driver’s license. The company was doing business as Urban Express, but had actually registered two different versions of the business, one of which had been suspended as of March 31 by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for failure to provide proof of bodily injury and property damage insurance. Now PUCO has suspended the second version of Urban Express for failure to provide proper operating information.
Although no one was seriously hurt, it could have turned out much different as a result of a drunk driver and a negligent charter company. If you or someone you love has been hurt in this or another bus accident as a result of corporate negligence, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Please contact the Ohio accident attorneys at Robert W. Kerpsack Co, LPA today for a free case evaluation.