Covering Kentucky

Feb 11, 2014 7:20 PM

Questioning School Bus Structural Safety After 2012 Carrollton Crash

School buses carry children and they're supposed to be one of the safest vehicles on the road.

But a deadly roll over crash on Oct. 29, 2012 raises questions about the structural safety of them.

A head-start bus was smashed against a tree after it crashed along Boone Road.

The day seemed almost to repeat itself for Carroll County coroner David Wilhoite who worked as a firefighter during the 1987 Carrollton bus crash.

"I was really kind of surprised there wasn't more death than there was," he said. "We will never be over it in this county."

Caroline Tuttle and Ryder Dietz, both 3 years old, died instantly when the bus lost control, overturned and its top slid into the tree.

The bus roof caved in on the two children and injuring some of their classmates and bus monitor Tina Gividen.

Gividen explained that the bus driver Laura Reed wasn't speeding at the time. Reed claims she pulled over to let a car pass when her wheels dropped off the road, causing her to over-correct and crash.

The Kentucky State Police reported indicated Reed was at fault, but speed was not listed as a factor. Police didn't inspect the bus's structural integrity.

Attorney Dale Golden represents Reed and is suing the bus manufacturer, IC Bus, for selling the bus in a defective condition and unreasonable dangerous to the user.

"There should have been an alternative design, something safer," Golden said

Federal motor vehicle safety standards are supposed to provide roll over protection.

"If there was more of a roll bar on the roof that would probably help the situation a whole lot," Wilhoite said.

IC Bus released a statement saying, "IC school busses are built to meet or exceed all federal and State of Kentucky school bus safety standards."

Ultimately, a jury could decide if what's in place legally best protects children.

Jefferson County Public Schools have sued IC Bus for a number of broken and defective buses.

There has been a recall of another model for structural issues, but not the one involved in the Carollton Crash.

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