Our Chicago bus accident attorneys were surprised to read a report about a serious passenger bus accident that occurred yesterday after the vehicle collided into an Illinois interstate bridge support pillar, killing one person and injuring 33 others. Usnews.nbcnews.com reported that the double-decker express bus operated by the budget intercity service Megabus was running from Chicago to St. Louis, and was to stop in Colombia, Missouri before arriving to its final destination in Kansas City. It was traveling at full capacity with a total of 81 passengers when the accident occurred around 1:20pm.
An Illinois State Trooper stated that thirty ambulances and five emergency helicopters responded to the scene on Interstate 55 a few miles north of Litchfield, Illinois. Police say the front of the bus was smashed up against the concrete bridge support and rescue crews had to use ladders to reach those trapped inside. A 25-year old woman who was seated above the driver on the second floor of the bus was killed upon impact, while 38 others suffered serious injuries and were taken by ambulance or helicopter to St. Louis or Springfield hospitals. 36 additional passengers with minor injuries were taken to a community center in Litchfield by school bus. Passengers described scene as chaotic and filled with absolute panic, as many could “feel the bus lose control as it rolled into the median and toward the pillar.”
The news report states that the initial cause of the accident remains unknown. Authorities say it may have been a blown tire; passengers said they felt one of the bus’s wheels skid and as a result, felt as if the bus was about tip over. A lane of Interstate 55 was closed immediately after the accident, but was reopened in both directions at around 5 p.m. Bus travel in surrounding areas has been affected, as many people are avoiding front row seats of buses, or are avoiding riding buses all together, in the case that an accident similar to the one described above should happen.
Our Chicago bus accident lawyers learned that a number of low-fare bus accidents have occurred in Illinois in recent years, prompting calls for stricter bus regulations. Records show that Megabus, though a popular company for many since 2006, had three other accidents take place in 2011, causing one fatality in each crash. Megabus states that it is working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the cause of yesterday’s accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that it would also work with authorities “to determine if there are safety implications that merit agency action.”
As our Illinois bus accident lawyers understand it, Megabus and other bus companies are very popular in downtown Chicago for many residents and tourists who want to travel around the city or surrounding areas. While bus accidents similar to the one reported above generally do not occur on a regular basis, these large and heavy vehicles driving on narrow city roadways and under low overpasses can cause serious accidents and therefore potential injury to those involved. Other accidents, however, may be caused by negligent bus drivers through distracted driving or failing to follow all roadway regulations.
Although the above report does not state if anyone was to blame in this particular incident, or confirm whether any victims planned to seek legal action, individuals do have the right to take action if they have suffered serious injuries as a result of careless or negligent motorists. Our Illinois bus accident attorneys understand that accidents involving buses or other large commercial vehicles can result in personal injury and life altering consequences. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in an accident due to a negligent driver, please contact our team of Chicago personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.