Parents sue Carroll schools, bus driver
Families of 2 children in accident claim negligence
Thursday, November 15, 2012 10:00 AM
The families of two students injured in the Carroll County Schools bus crash in October filed a lawsuit against the bus driver and Carroll County Schools.
Attorney Eric Deters of Independence, Ky., filed a lawsuit Tuesday against bus driver Laura Reed, Carroll County Schools Superintendent Lisa James and the Carroll County Board of Education in Carroll County Circuit Court. Erica Isaias Cruz, the parent of Dulce Cruz, and Charles T. and Kristina M. Hollingsworth, the parents of Ryleigh Hollingsworth, filed the lawsuit claiming negligence against Reed and the school district. They also claim the district ignored complaints in the past about Reed's driving.
The suit also names Bill Hogan, Carroll County Schools assistant superintendent; Larry Curell, chief operating officer; and Nadena Mahoney, director of the office of transportation, as defendants.
The lawsuit states that both children were severely injured in the accident, with Dulce Cruz suffering a fractured left leg and Ryleigh Hollingsworth a fractured collarbone. Both children also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional injuries, the lawsuit contends.
Two preschool-aged children, Ryder Deitz and Caroline Tuttle, died in the bus crash on Boone Road on Oct. 29. Seven other children, a bus assistant and the bus driver were riding home from the Carroll County Child Development Center when the bus left the road for an unknown reason, rolled onto its side and struck a tree, which caused the roof to collapse and the chassis to detach. The school bus was equipped with seat belts, and state police believe all passengers were wearing them.
Allegations in the lawsuit include negligence by the bus driver, the superintendent and the school board; and breach of a duty owed to parents.
The lawsuit alleges that Reed "operated the school bus in excess of the speed limit and in a negligent, reckless and unsafe manner," and "without sufficient training for the safe operation of a school bus."
The parents also contend that the defendants "had received complaints about the conduct of ... Reed prior to October 28, 2012, relating to ... Reed's unsafe driving habits, her intentional disregard for the safety and welfare of the students entrusted to her care, and her fitness for the position as a school bus driver."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including medical costs, emotional damages, attorney's fees and court costs.
Documents obtained by a Louisville television station through an open-records request after the crash from Carroll County Schools showed Reed has been an employee of the school district since 1994 and has always driven buses transporting students to and from the Carroll County Child Development Center. The documents also showed good reviews and no prior accidents during Reed's 18 years of employment with the school district.
Kentucky State Police continue an investigation into the cause of the bus crash.