A school bus driver in New Orleans who caused a crash that injured nine students did not have the proper permit to operate a bus, reports Fox 8 News (https://www.fox8live.com/2019/12/18/ems-injured-school-bus-accident-i-high-rise/).
The accident, which occurred in the early morning of December 18 on Interstate 10 near the High Rise bridge, resulted in the bus being overturned and the diversion of traffic to surrounding streets. At the time, the driver and 15 students from a local school were on the bus. Nine of those students were taken to two area hospitals–Children’s Hospital and University Medical Center–and all were treated and released over the course of the day. Six other students, according to school officials, were picked up by their parents following the school’s notification of the crash, and out of those six, five were brought to Children’s Hospital for evaluation to ensure there was no injury.
Chad Rodney, the bus driver, refused treatment at the scene, and he’s now become the subject of some questions by the concerned local community.
Douglas Evans, the CEO of the school charter involved, says the school is working to confirm what happened. According to Evans, Rodney passed background and paperwork checks made the afternoon of the accident, and the school also ran additional checks on its other active drivers. The CEO also said they will work with the bus company to see how to tighten the process up so this does not happen again.
The City of New Orleans, however, maintains that Rodney should never have been driving a bus full of children going to school. Zachary Smith, Director of Safety and Permits for New Orleans, said Rodney was not allowed to drive the bus, as the city denied his application because he had a drug conviction in 2016. According to the city, the Hammond Transportation bus he was driving at the time of the crash was not in compliance, either. New regulations for school buses were passed in the city recently, and all school buses are supposed to be inspected before being back on the road to ensure they meet the new regulations. According to Smith, the bus in question was never brought in for the mandatory inspection as required, and only about 40 percent of the 125 school buses operated by Hammond Transportation are currently carrying the proper permit.
Rodney received citations for careless motor vehicle operations and equipment violations in the wake of the accident. He also received a city summons for the lack of certification, lack of inspection and his lack of permit.
Jay Banks, a New Orleans City Councilman, stated his office will be working to see if they can add anything about the inspections for school buses into the city code, as the Department of Safety and Permits made it known it has struggled to bring Hammond Transportation into compliance with this regulatory requirement. The area school board is also trying to determine how many schools are using buses from Hammond Transportation and what caused this accident.
Bus accidents can have devastating consequences due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, speak to the best bus accident lawyer in Denver, CO about what happened.
Thanks to Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and bus injuries.