Posted May 16, 2017 | Vehicle Accidents
What should have been a fun-filled day for dozens of Philadelphia students, teachers, and chaperones became a nightmare after their charter bus crashed on I-95 en route to Washington, D.C. for a field trip. The accident occurred around 9:30 A.M. near the Havre de Grace exit in Maryland when a Honda, in a failed attempt to overtake the charter bus, swerved across multiple lanes of traffic, causing the bus to overturn before striking a tree and embankment. Twenty-nine people suffered injuries, including head injuries and broken bones. After being airlifted from the scene, two victims were listed in critical condition. If someone you know was injured in this crash, you are urged to contact Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Brent Wieand for immediate legal assistance.
“This is school trip time,” 42-year-old parent Faridha Taylor told reporters. “You just assume that your kids are going to go school and come home OK.”
But for dozens of families, that expectation was shattered yesterday morning after a charter bus accident on I-95 left 29 eighth graders and adults injured, two critically.
“Thank Jesus you didn’t get on that bus,” a tearful Sylvia Dudley told her son, who had chosen not to go on the field trip. “I’m so glad.”
Others were not so lucky.
Head injuries, bone fractures, cuts, bruises, scrapes, and asthma attacks were among the non-critical injuries reported after the accident. Though most were released from the hospital the same day of the crash, five of the injured children remain hospitalized, including two who were transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment.
Two victims, one of whom was identified as special education teacher Brittany Jacobs, remain in critical condition. Jacobs is being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where, according to one source, the teacher was placed into a medically induced coma.
“She’s a beautiful person, a special education teacher, kind,” said 39-year-old Sarah Gibson, whose daughter is Jacobs’ cousin. “Everybody loves her.”
Though most of the injuries were non-critical, emotional scars are likely to linger.
“There’s a lot of counseling that will need to happen,” said Cheryl Logan, chief academic officer for C.W. Henry School’s district, “because they witnessed something awful that we would not want any of our children to witness or be a part of.”
“She thought everything was a dream,” said parent Haidache Daniel, whose daughter Kayla, 13, was among those treated and discharged from the hospital. “She’s confused.”
According to Logan, the school will make additional counselors available to the students “in the foreseeable future, for as long as they’re needed.”
As the victims continue to receive counseling and medical care, accident investigators continue to unravel information about the crash. What’s known so far is that the accident took place after a male driver, whose identity has not been disclosed, lost control of a Honda Civic during a failed passing maneuver. The Honda made contact with the front of the bus, which then overturned and struck several objects before grinding to a halt on the highway, closing down traffic lanes for hours. So far, no criminal charges have been filed.
The Honda’s driver declined medical treatment, as did the bus driver, whose identity is also being withheld. The name of the driver’s employer, however, has been released: Werner Coach, a company based out of Phoenixville. The driver is one of 39 employees, who collectively operate a fleet of 27 vehicles – some of which may suffer from safety problems.
Federal records revealed that 61 violations were uncovered over the course of 58 vehicle inspections. That gives Werner Coach – which has a “satisfactory” rating by federal criteria – a worse maintenance record than 78% of other bus companies of roughly equivalent size. Two accidents involving Werner vehicles have been reported during the previous two years, though neither caused any deaths or injuries.
“For me, as an individual,” said 34-year-old parent Sharif Barnes, “I’m going to use this as a learning experience. You can be here one day and gone the next, so make every day count.”
Every parent expects their child to be safe when they get on a school bus, charter bus, or tour bus. Unfortunately, as yesterday’s devastating accident makes all too clear, crashes and collisions can happen at any time.
If your child or someone you love was injured on Monday, or was hurt in another crash involving a SEPTA bus, school bus, or charter bus, turn to an experienced SEPTA accident lawyer for help. Compensation may be available for your medical bills and other losses. For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact personal injury attorney Brent Wieand at (877) 654-3887 right away.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*