Highways are dangerous for all motorists, especially when traveling at high speeds alongside large vehicles, including semi-trucks, buses, and SUVs. In a tragic accident, a bus traveling with a church group blew a tire and veered off the median, crashing into a sport-utility vehicle and a semi-truck. The explosive accident caused the death of eight victims.
Commercial bus lines have been under scrutiny since a number of high-proflle accidents nationwide. Inexperienced drivers and failed maintenance have routinely been the cause of a number of fatal accidents throughout the Northeast and nationwide. Our Massachusetts bus accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting victims and raising awareness to prevent future accidents and injuries.
According to reports, the bus was carrying members of a Baptist Church located approximately 140 miles east of the collision site. The members were traveling to a festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to attend an event that featured gospel music, singing, and speakers. The church had a close-knit community and many members knew everyone on the bus that had attended the event.
Police reports indicated that the charter bus crossed the median around 2 p.m. After the bus clipped an SUV, it collided with a tractor-trailer and burst into flames. Chartered bus drivers must be properly screened and trained. Charter bus companies are also responsible for ensuring that vehicles are properly maintained. In this case, the company may be held liable for any negligence and failure to ensure that tires were in a safe condition.
It took emergency crews, including first responders, police and firemen several hours to clear the accident. The explosion caused a fire that left clouds of smoke billowing from the scene. The accident left the bus rolled over next to the semi and the SUV more than 50 yards from the collision. Authorities had to shut down the interstate in both directions to help the victims and clear the accident scene.
Six of the victims were traveling on the chartered church bus which carried 18 passengers total. The other two victims involved a passenger in the SUV and the tractor-trailer driver. Members of the church community have been struck by this tragedy and the day after the accident, many were still trying to locate their loved ones and identify victims.
A number of chartered bus lines have been closed down due to similar catastrophic and tragic highway accidents. Many of these tragic accidents could be prevented with proper oversight, regulation and screening of drivers and bus companies. Holding individuals and entities accountable can also prevent future accidents.
In addition to the 8 fatalities, there were 14 other victims who have suffered injuries; 8 of these victims are in critical condition. Families of the deceased are entitled to bring wrongful death claims against all responsible individuals and entities. Any passengers who suffered injuries can also pursue personal injury claims to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, lost wages, and any other losses related to the accident.
If you or someone you love was involved in a bus accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights at 1-877-617-5333.
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Teens Avoiding GDL Program Facing Higher Risks for Boston Accidents, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 15, 2013
New Feature to Protect Consumers from Recalled Vehicles, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 20, 2013