Chicago Tribune 10-16-2014

Chicago Tribune 10-16-2014

Lawsuit claims malfunctioning wipers contributed to Megabus crash

October 16, 2014
By Liam Ford

A lawsuit claims malfunctioning windshield wipers contributed to the crash of a Chicago-bound Megabus along Interstate 65 earlier this week.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by four Chicagoans who were on their way back from the Bears game in Atlanta when the bus tipped over near Indianapolis early Tuesday.

Bridget Humbert, Creighton Mims, Valerie Battle-Dugger and Lennell Sorrells are seeking more than $100,000 from Megabus USA, LLC.

“We continue to be focused on the passengers and their needs along with their families at this time,” said Sean Hughes, a spokesman for Coach USA North America, which owns Megabus. “It is our practice not to comment on litigation.”

A total of 18 people were taken to hospitals for treatment following the crash, and Sorrells was among the most seriously injured in the crash, according to Indiana State Police.

Those who filed the lawsuit suffered injuries that included a separated shoulder, knocked-out teeth and facial cuts that required stitches, according to a statement from their attorney, Thomas A. Zimmerman.

The lawsuit claims Megabus failed to supervise its driver and maintain its equipment.

“The passengers reported hearing the bus driver complain that the windshield wipers were not working, and it was difficult to see the road in the rain,” Zimmerman said in the statement. “We suspect a malfunction in the windshield wipers prevented the bus driver from adequately seeing the road and contributed to the crash.”

The crash happened around 4:35 a.m. when a 22-year-old man from Columbus, Ind. man veered from the northbound lanes into the median “due to driver inattention,” according to the Indiana state police.

His car hit cable barriers and came to a stop facing east, with the rear of his 2003 Saturn in the right lane, state police said.

Someone stopped to check on the driver of the Saturn just as the Megabus, driven by a 37-year-old man from Illinois, hit the back of the Saturn, sending the car into the ditch on the east side of I-65 and causing the bus to slam into the median, hit the cable barriers and overturn, police said.

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