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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

School bus driver, student tragically killed in collision with tractor-trailer on I-79

BUTLER COUNTY, Penn. — A 14-year-old girl and 31-year-old school bus driver were killed Nov. 2 in an accident with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 79 in Muggy Creek Township.

The bus driver was identified as Lindsay Thompkins, 31, of Aliquippa, in a news release from Pennsylvania State Police. The name of the student has not been released.

The bus was northbound on I-79 at about 4:30 p.m. with 13 students from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland when the vehicle hit the rear of a northbound tractor-trailer, according to state police. 

The driver and young girl were transported to hospitals where they later died. Two students were flown to hospitals in Pittsburgh with serious injuries and are in stable condition, according to a local news report. Two additional students were taken by ground transport to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh where they were treated and released. 

All of the students on the bus ranged from ages 13-17. Paramedics evaluated those who were not transported to hospitals before releasing them to their parents. 

The driver of the tractor-trailer and the passenger in the vehicle were not hurt.

An investigation into the crash is underway. In the news release, state police suggested the bus driver failed to drive at a safe speed, which may have contributed to the accident. 

COMMENTARY ON FATAL BUS ACCIDENTS

I am deeply saddened to learn of the awful collision that has taken the lives of a school bus driver and young student, and injured several others. I have experienced first-hand the grief, suffering, and heartache of loved ones left behind. No one should ever have to try and hold their world together while simultaneously navigating the legal maelstrom they have suddenly been cast into.

Accidents of this type are not as common as you might expect, considering the millions and millions of miles covered by school bus drivers each year. An average of 131 school transportation-related fatalities occur each year in the United States, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. Nevertheless, even one death is one too many. 

The cause of this terrible crash is not discernable from the sparse details released by authorities. A thorough investigation must be conducted to determine whether speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, mechanical failure, or some other factor may have contributed. This is a very complicated case, one that will require the expertise of an experienced team of professionals to settle in a timely and equitable manner.

My sincere condolences go out to the families and loved ones of the deceased, and I pray for a speedy recovery for the injured.

Disclaimer: The information contained within this post was compiled from public sources or constitutes the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if you identify any false or misleading information.

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