A school bus with 34 students on board collided with two other vehicles last Friday near north suburban Wadsworth, resulting in one death. Chicago.cbslocal.com released information regarding the accident, stating that it occurred around 8am on Route 173 and Kilbourne. The bus had been traveling westbound on Route 173 to transport the students to Newport Elementary School when it suddenly collided with a jeep traveling south on Kilbourne. A second jeep was also involved in the accident, although it was not clear what direction it was traveling at the time of the crash.
Our Illinois bus accident attorneys learned that the bus overturned as a result of the collision. It was knocked over on the driver’s side about thirty yards west of the intersection. The front of the bus landed in a ditch and the windows busted out. Students immediately began filing out of the bus, and nearby drivers attempted to help.
Authorities said the children were already off the bus when emergency crews arrived. Thankfully, the students and the bus driver only suffered minor injuries. Officials said there were no seat belts on the school bus, but the high seat backs on the bus might have protected the children from more serious injuries. They were all taken to nearby hospitals and treated for non life-threatening bumps, bruises, and fractures. School counselors helped keep the students calm while they were being treated. Many panicked parents rushed to the hospital after being informed about the accident. Considering the bus had tipped over in the crash, many parents and members of the school district were thankful that all of the children were okay.
Sadly, the driver of the first jeep that collided with the bus, a 62-year old of Beach Park, was killed in the crash. His vehicle was demolished from the back seat forward. The female driver of the second jeep was reported to have suffered severe facial injuries and her passenger only suffered minor injuries.
A sheriff from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department said it was unclear what caused the accident. A preliminary investigation based on witness accounts indicated the school bus might have ran a red light, which caused it to collide with the jeeps. However, additional witnesses later disputed that and told the police the light was possibly not red when the bus entered the intersection. No tickets or criminal charges had been filed in the crash as of 2:30 p.m. Friday. Both Route 173 and Kilbourn were closed to traffic for more than nine hours after the crash to allow investigators to reconstruct the accident. Crews began towing away the vehicles to reopen the intersection shortly before 5:30 pm.
School bus accidents, including collisions between buses, trucks, or cars injure about 8,000 children every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most accidents and collisions occur when school buses are making turns, entering intersections, or traveling too close to other motorists. The above report, however, does not specify who was to blame in this particular accident. If the bus driver actually did drive through the red light like many witnesses reported, he would be deemed negligent. Thus, the families of the children or passenger vehicle drivers would have the right to seek legal action for any pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Of course, nothing can make up for the injury or death of an individual due to the negligence of another driver. But it is important that these drivers are held accountable for their actions. It is also important that school districts are making every effort to hire appropriate drivers to transport students through ensuring they are qualified and are following all safety regulations in place.
If you or your child has been injured in a bus accident due to a negligent motoristseeking qualified legal representation to protect the rights of you and your child is highly recommended. Our lawyers have the proper experience needed to assist you in determining if legal recourse may be available to you, informing you of your rights, and ultimately offering you the resources you need to seek legal action. Please contact us for more information.