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Three bus wreck lawsuits filed

SALYERSVILLE – Three civil suits have been filed against the bus driver and the school board regarding the Rt. 40 bus wreck that occurred on November 14, sending all 18 students and the driver to hospitals.

On Monday, November 14, just after 7:20 a.m., first responders were called to a bus wreck on KY Rt. 40 near the Tackett Bottom, where a Magoffin County Schools bus, driven by Wanda Bailey, went over an embankment, striking a utility pole and landing on its passenger side. All occupants and the driver were taken to hospitals for treatment, with seven students and the driver remaining hospitalized for at least a week. Many of the students and the driver sustained serious injuries, some which are reportedly expected to have long-term effects from the wreck.

At press time, three separate civil cases have been filed against the driver and the Magoffin County Board of Education, as follows:

Case 1:
Johnson Law Firm, out of Pikeville, filed a complaint for two parents of two minor students who were on the bus when the wreck occurred. The suit alleged that Bailey operated the bus, owned by the school board, in “such a negligent manner, grossly negligent manner, and/or with the reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others so as to cause it to leave the roadway and travel over cliffside/embankment thereby causing [students’ names] to suffer severe bodily injuries.”

As for the Board of Education, the suit claims that the board “breached its duties of care in that it failed to use due care in the hiring, training, education, supervision, and retention of defendant Wanda Bailey,” and as the employer, is liable for her actions.

The suit claims that both students are incurring medical and physician expenses, as well as suffered permanent impairments that will affect their abilities to earn money in the future.

The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and judgment against the driver and school board for financial compensation for past and future mental and physical pain, permanent impairment of abilities to earn money, future and past medical expenses not covered by the insurance coverage, miscellaneous expenses incurred, and punitive damages.

Case 2:
The Law Office of John C. Collins, in Salyersville, filed a case representing the parent of two of the students, as well as an 18-year-old student who was severely injured in the wreck, with the complaint listing the driver, a former superintendent, the transportation director of Magoffin County Schools, the current superintendent, the school board members listed individually, as well as FYDAH Foods, which operates Speedy’z, the convenience store/gas station where the driver reportedly worked a shift prior to her bus run that morning. The initial complaint notes that the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

The suit claims that Wanda Bailey finished a shift at Speedy’z around midnight and she began her bus route at approximately 6:15 a.m.

This civil suit alleges that Bailey was in violation of numerous state and federal safety regulations by operating the bus that morning, resulting in reported reckless driving that led to the wreck. The suit claims that the driver’s employer, Magoffin County Board of Education, and supervisors are liable for her behavior and for hiring, training, supervising and retaining her as an employee at the time of the wreck.

Fydah Foods was also listed for alleged negligence for reportedly compelling her to work a late evening/overnight shift at Speedy’z, knowing she would have to drive her morning bus route.

The complaint asks for a jury trial and judgment for the injured students for damages of physical and mental suffering, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, actual, compensatory, punitive, foreseeable and incidental damages, and attorney fees, costs and expenses.

Case 3:
The most recent case to be filed was by Morgan and Morgan Law Office in Prestonsburg, representing two parents of two more students involved in the wreck, listing the driver and school board as the defendants.

Similar to the other two cases, this civil suit also alleges that the driver’s reported “negligent” and “reckless” behavior resulted in the wreck, severely injuring both students listed in the suit and causing them to incur physical and mental pain, impair their abilities to earn money in the future, and acquire past and future medical expenses. As the driver’s employer, the suit also lists the school board as liable for her actions and for hiring, training, supervising and retaining her as a bus driver.

The case also asks for a jury trial and judgment for the injured students for monetary compensation for the physical and mental trauma, permanent impairment to earn income, medical expenses, punitive damages, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred, as well as attorney and court fees.

At press time, no court dates have been scheduled in the cases. Also important to note, these are civil lawsuits in Magoffin Circuit Court, not criminal cases. No one has been criminally charged at this time in relation to this bus wreck.

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