Megabus Fatal Crash Lawsuit Settled for $5.1 Million

(August 10, 2012) – One day following a deadly Megabus crash, a $5.1 million settlement has been reached in a similar accident from two years ago.

The family of a pedestrian who was fatally struck by a Megabus in 2010 has been awarded $5.1 million. Coincidentally, this accident took place just two blocks away from Wednesday’s deadly pedestrian crash involving a Megabus.

On February 23, 2010, a 64-year-old man was crossing an intersection in the crosswalk, when a left-turning Megabus struck him, dragging him 30 feet before stopping. The victim died soon after in a nearby hospital.

The victim is survived by his wife and two adult sons, as well as several grandchildren. His sons were raising their families in Texas, and the victim’s wife had also moved there months before the tragic accident. The victim was preparing to retire and would join his wife and children in Texas in nine months.

The bus driver simply did not see the pedestrian in the crosswalk, as stated in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, there are so many motor coaches driving around each day, sharing the roads with afternoon pedestrian traffic.

Megabus is a fast growing, discount, inter-city bus line. The company has been involved in four public incidents in the past week alone, two of which were fatal.

On Tuesday, a 76-year-old legal secretary was hit and killed by a Megabus while in a crosswalk. She was knocked to the ground by the side mirror of the Megabus, according to police. She died about four hours later. This tragedy occurred just two blocks away from where the Megabus fatally struck the 64-year-old victim two years ago, resulting in Megabus’ agreement to pay $5.1 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, while admitting no wrongdoing. This settlement was reached one day after the fatal death of this 76-year-old victim.

The victim’s daughter and son have filed a lawsuit against Megabus, claiming that the driver did not keep a proper lookout and failed to yield to the right of way of a pedestrian within a crosswalk.

The 32-year-old bus driver was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian, but the investigation continues and she could face further charges. The lawyers also seek the bus driver’s personnel records, as well as seeking to preserve the bus in an “unaltered state” for experts to inspect.

The wrongful death suit, which claims negligence, is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

A nearby CVS Pharmacy had videotape running and footage of the tragedy will likely be subpoenaed.

Thursday, the governor wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, asking for a federal investigation into the company.

The fatal accident rate for traditional bus companies is two deaths per 1,000 vehicles. For curbside companies, it is 14 per 1,000 vehicles—7 times higher.

Last week, a Megabus passenger was killed when a double decker Megabus carrying 78 passengers, blew a tire, losing control and crashing head-on into a concrete pillar. Dozens of other passengers were hurt.  The front of the bus was so mangled, rescuers had to use ladders to pull people out from the windows of the upper level. The weather was dry and there was no road construction along that part of the interstate. The victim was a 25-year-old graduate student from India, traveling with her parents. 47 passengers were taken to hospitals, and five more who were airlifted to other hospitals. All are expected to survive.

On Wednesday, a Megabus caught fire after blowing a tire on an interstate in Georgia.

To cut expenses, Megabus operates without terminals, picking up and unloading passengers right from the street. Megabus is a low-fare bus service, saying they have transported more than 19 million passengers since being founded in 2006.

Some have called for tougher regulations following several accidents involving low-fare buses, including a September 2010 wreck near Syracuse, N.Y. involving another double decker Megabus. Four people died when the bus slammed into a low bridge. The driver was acquitted earlier this year of homicide.

15 people were killed in May 2011, when a bus swerved off Interstate 95 in NYC and was sliced in half. Two days later, another bus drove off the N.J. Turnpike and struck a bridge support, killing the driver and a passenger.

Megabus drivers are required to take 9 hours off between scheduled driving duties, the company said, adding that this is stricter than federal requirements. They say that the drivers go through what they called “extensive classroom and behind the wheel training.” Perhaps, this is not enough.

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