Two of the survivors of a fatal bus crash on the Interstate 84 in Oregon last month have announced plans to file a lawsuit against the operators of the tour bus and the bus driver.
The lawsuit claims that the bus driver was over worked and fatigued, having worked 90 to 100 hours over the eight days prior to the accident, with no rest. In addition, the lawsuit accuses the driver of driving recklessly considering the slippery road conditions and poor visibility.
According to the passengers who are filing the lawsuit, two Korean exchange students, the driver was speeding in the dangerous icy conditions, and failed to heed a number of warnings about the treacherous weather conditions in the area.
The accident occurred in December 2012, while the tour bus was carrying passengers back to Vancouver, British Columbia following a nine day bus tour of the western United States. The bus slid on icy roads, causing the driver to lose control and smash into an embankment on the I-84 close to Pendleton.
The operators of the bus, Mi Joo Tours, responded to the lawsuit by releasing a media statement on Monday. The statement said that Mi Joo Tours was cooperating fully with the accident investigation and with lawsuit proceedings, and again extended sympathy and condolences to the family members of those who were killed in the accident.
According to Oregon State Police Lieutenant Gregg Hastings, who is working on the investigation, the passengers on the bus at the time of the accident ranged from 7 to 74 years old and included citizens of the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea. An 11 year old girl from South Korea was one of those who was killed.
Police only released the identities of the deceased last week, saying that identification of the victims was difficult as many of the dead were not US citizens and family members had to travel to identify the bodies. The names of the passengers involved in the accident have now been posted on the Oregon State Police website.
The investigators who are working on the accident report that will be used in the lawsuit have said that it may take several weeks for the results of their investigation to be completed. It is critical that the accounts of other passengers and the driver, who survived the accident, are taken into account before this case reaches the courts, said Hastings.