Connecticut readers of this blog would probably agree there are few things more terrifying than being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. In addition, the serious injury, medical expenses, and pain and suffering that often result from a crash can be life changing to those involved. However, it is possible that something else can make all of this worse: watching the driver of the vehicle you are riding in slowly fall asleep and cause the accident. This is just what occurred to passengers involved in a deadly bus accident that occurred last year.
Passengers on the overnight bus ride in 2011 testified during the bus driver’s recent trial that they watched as the driver gulped Red Bull energy drinks and coffee while complaining that he lacked sleep. According to witnesses on the bus, the driver’s apparent condition caused the bus to swerve and change speeds erratically for up to an hour.
Suddenly the bus rumbled onto the shoulder, alarming passengers. Apparently, the driver was slumped over in his seat, sleeping. The crash that resulted overturned the bus, killing four people.
The driver was convicted in criminal court last week of involuntary manslaughter. He could face up to 40 years in prison when sentenced in January.
Those injured in this crash and survivors of the slain victims also have the right to pursue a civil suit to recover compensation for the suffering they endured.. The bus company the driver worked for has since closed down operations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it automatically escapes accountability. There are reportedly suspicions that the dispatcher may have pressed the driver to keep going despite reporting he was tired.
Source: Connecticut Post, “Bus driver convicted in crash that killed 4 in Va.,” Larry O’Dell, The Associated Press, Nov. 8, 2012