Lawsuit filed over fatal Megabus crash near Union Station
BY TINA SFONDELES Transportation Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org August 10, 2012 1:10PM
Megabus pedestrian accident victim Donna Ann Halstead. She died after being struck by a Megabus at the intersection of Adams and Canal Streets in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. Photo taken in November, 2008. (family handout photo)
Updated: September 12, 2012 6:05AM
Lawyers for the family of a 76-year-old woman killed by a Megabus outside Union Station this week are questioning whether bus drivers for the company are being properly trained on the dangers of blind spots while making left turns.
Donna Halstead’s death on Tuesday while crossing near Canal and Adams is “remarkably similar” to what happened to Wes Krueger in 2010, according to Dan Kotin, a Corboy & Demetrio attorney representing Halstead’s family in their wrongful death case.
“Whether these are just coincidental tragedies, I don’t know,” Kotin said. “But there’s an awful lot of questions that come to mind that I think need to be answered.”
Kotin said he has consulted with a bus driver about the dangers of blind spots as motorcoaches make left-hand turns.
“It is possible that if the pedestrian is walking across the street at the same place as the bus is turning, the pedestrian can be in the blind spot of the bus through the entire turn,” Kotin said. “A bus driver can theoretically not see the pedestrian ever, and for that reason special training is needed for these bus drivers.”
The wrongful death suit filed Friday by Halstead’s daughter, Mary Beaver, claims negligence on the part of Megabus and bus driver Shemeka Hudson and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages. The suit claims Hudson didn’t keep a proper lookout and failed to yield to the right of way of a pedestrian within a crosswalk.
Hudson, 32, of Chicago, was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian, but the investigation is continuing. The suit also seeks Hudson’s personnel records.
Beaver’s lawyers are also seeking to preserve the bus in an “unaltered state” for experts to inspect, as well as any video or photographic evidence of the crash.
The suit comes just two days after the Corboy & Demetrio law firm settled another suit against Megabus for $5.1 million involving the family of Krueger, who was killed by a Megabus in 2010 just a few blocks from where Halstead was killed.
“We have no reason to believe that any mechanical problem with the bus contributed to either collision,” Kotin said. “However, we need to explore the issue of sightlines and blind spots as it relates to Megabus’ large motor coaches making left turns in crowded city intersections.”
Kotin said he believes a nearby CVS Pharmacy has video of the accident, and said lawyers were going to subpoena the drugstore to get the footage.
Dale Moser, president and chief operating officer of Megabus, released a statement Friday afternoon.
“All of our staff at megabus.com are deeply saddened by the incident that took place in Chicago and our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ms. Halsted (sic),” it said. “The incident is still under investigation by the authorities and we will continue to lend our support in this investigation.”