8 children and 2 adults were hospitalized, with at least two of them in a serious condition, on January 7th, 2020 when a tractor-trailer collided with a stopped school bus in eastern North Carolina.
The 18 wheeler caused the Head Start school bus to flip three times before coming to a stop as per authorities. The bus collision took place near Delco in North Carolina just before 9 am.
Adults with Serious Injuries
Two adults on the bus, including the bus driver, had the most serious injuries and were airlifted to a hospital. Eight injured schoolchildren were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington in an ambulance.
Authorities report that the school bus had stopped on US Route 74/76 in Columbus County to pick up children when the tractor-trailer rammed into it from behind. A FedEx semi was also involved in the crash which caused a chain reaction after the initial collision.
Both truck drivers were not injured in the accident. Chief Steve Camlin with Acme-Delco Riegelwood Fire Department said the tractor-trailer driver managed to swerve but still hit the bus.
Driver Found to be Negligent
Camlin said the school bus that was carrying 2 adults and 8 children had left the Ransom Head Start Center in Riegelwood located 20 miles northwest of Wilmington. The driver of the 18-wheeler, Daniel Musick of Statesville, failed to notice the stopped bus in time since he was lighting a cigarette and not looking at the road.
Musick tried swerving but did not manage to avoid the bus in time. The bus landed in a roadside ditch after rolling over multiple times with the driver’s side completely peeled away.
First Sgt. E.C. Harris stated that Musick has been charged with failure to reduce speed and negligent driving.
Proving Negligence in Bus Accidents
Several factors can contribute to bus accidents, including distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane changes, or failure to stop at a stop sign. Victim needs to prove negligence on the part of the driver or another motorist to have a valid claim, which requires the legal prowess of an experienced city bus accident attorney.
North Carolina follows contributory negligence doctrine which means a defendant needs to be proved completely at fault for the crash. The doctrine states that a plaintiff shall not be compensated if it is found that their actions contributed to the incident.
It can take a well-qualified city bus accident lawyer to prove negligence and to show that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care.