The drivers of a school bus car involved a deadly wreck on a interstate overpass in Huntsville have been names defendants in the first wrongful death lawsuit filed in the accident, which killed four teens.
The suit, filed Monday in Madison County Circuit Court on behalf of the father of one of the victims, contends in part that the bus driver wasn’t wearing his seat belt and failed to stay in his seat to control the steering wheel when the bus veered into a railing and plunged over it.
Defendants named in the suit are the bus driver, Anthony Scott, his employer, Laidlaw Transit Inc., and the car’s driver, 17-year-old Tony Williams.
Police said Scott was driving the bus carrying 40 Lee High students to a downtown technology center last Nov. 20 when it came in contact with a 1990 Toyota Celica driven by Williams, also a Lee student on his way to the center. Following the contact, the bus rammed into the concrete railing and went over, crashing nose-first onto a street about 30 feet below.
One of the four teens killed was Nicole Ford, 19. The suit was filed on behalf of her father, Calvin Fletcher, who is also legal guardian of Ford’s child.
The suit, filed by Montgomery attorney Jere Beasley, seeks a jury trial and does not name monetary damages.
Huntsville lawyer Jake Watson, who is representing Williams, said Tuesday he will request a stay on all civil proceedings involving his client while a formal criminal investigation is under way. Investigators have said a malfunction in the Toyota’s steering system may have contributed to the accident.
“We expect that the grand jury will clear him and have no reason to think otherwise,” Watson said.
Laidlaw spokeswoman Tiffini Bloniarz said Tuesday the Naperville, Ill., company has been working closely with the authorities on the crash investigation but does not comment on pending litigation.
More than two dozen students were injured in the crash and most have retained lawyers. Beasley said Ford’s family had not been contacted with offers to resolve the case and avoid a lawsuit.
Investigators have said that Scott was not wearing his seat belt when the crash occurred and it appeared he was ejected from the bus before it went over the railing. He was found critically injured on the overpass and is recovering from his injuries.