A Jefferson Lines Bus rolled over on I-29 at mile marker 23 on March 20th, 2020 around 8:38 am. The cause of the bus accident that occurred five miles from Elk Point is thought to be the result of over speeding. However, the crash is still under investigation.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol investigating the southeast Elk Point crash said the bus was headed northbound when the bus driver changed lanes to overtake a semi-truck. The driver lost control over the bus and it began to slide before overturning in the east ditch.
12 Passengers on Bus
Tony Mangan with South Dakota Public Safety said there were 12 passengers on the bus along with the driver. All passengers including the driver were taken to area hospitals. However, the extent of injuries is not known yet.
Most passengers were taken to Vermillion in North Dakota except one who was flown to Sioux Falls.
Bus Driver Was Speeding
One of the bus passengers spoke with Keloland News and said the bus driver was going fast in an attempt to pass the semi-truck. She said the accident happened really quickly when the driver lost control of the bus.
Mangan reported that the 67-year old bus driver, Michael Swan was taken to the hospital even though he did not appear to be hurt. Swan who is a native of Lawrence, Kansas was wearing seat belt that saved his life.
There have been no charges made as the Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.
North Dakota Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity
Typically, public bus systems and local transportations in North Dakota like the Metro Area Transit are operated by the government. However, the public system may be protected from claims and lawsuit because of the North Dakota Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity.
This states that the government cannot be sued unless consent is given to the process. This makes filing bus accident lawsuits extremely difficult. Victims should hire the services of an experienced city bus accident attorney as soon as possible to navigate the lawsuit.
The only time the government can be sued is if the state waives away the sovereign immunity. This generally occurs when the driver operating the vehicle is responsible for acting negligently or carelessly.
Lawsuits Need To Be Filed Quickly
Laws are not the only things that make it difficult to file a claim. North Dakota has strict time frames. In certain situations, a victim may get as little as 180 days to make their first claim. It is important to get in touch with a reliable city bus accident lawyer to file the paperwork before time runs out.