Time For Seat Belts: Tragic Houston School Bus Accident Kills Two, Seriously Injures Four
A tragic bus accident killed two students and severely injured three other students, plus the bus driver, when the school bus crashed at 7:12 a.m. in southeast Houston on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.
The accident occurred near the junction of the 610 South Loop eastbound feeder and Telephone road. The westbound lanes of the South Loop were closed immediately following the crash.
The bus was bound for Furr High School at the time of the accident. 17-year-old Mariya Johnson died at the scene. 14-year-old Janecia Chatman died later at the hospital. Houston Fire Department spokesman Jay Evans confirmed the first fatality. The two other students involved, twins Brandon and Lakeshia Williams, were transported and treated for serious injuries. Driver Louis Pacheco was also injured.
The family of Mariya Johnson has announced their intent to file a personal injury lawsuit against both drivers involved in the crash, as well as the manufacturer of the guardrail.
Preliminary reports indicate the bus hit another vehicle, struck the guardrail, and flipped over the feeder road. Witness Anthony Martin told Houston’s Channel 13 News that “I was coming up Telephone Road on my way from work and I hadn’t got quite to the red light and I seen the bus come off the freeway. The bus (came) off the freeway nose down at more than 50 miles an hour in nose down off the freeway, tore the front off it. It sounded like somebody just hit a brick wall.”
After the accident, investigators discovered that the guardrail was not up to code.
Houston Independent School District Statement
Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier said in a statement that “we are deeply saddened by this tragedy and the loss of one of our students. I ask all of the HISD community to join me in praying for all of those involved.”
HISD transports 40,000 students every day on more than 1,000 buses. It is the largest single district bus fleet in the State of Texas.
About Furr High School
Furr High School is located adjacent to the Songwood subdivision and Hermann Brown Park. It serves several Houston neighborhoods inside and outside the 610 Loop, including Port Houston, Songwood Homes, Oates Prairie, Northshore, Pleasantville, and Clinton Park. The Houston charter school REACH Charter is located at Furr. The school is named for Ebbert Furr, the former landowner of the lot where the school was built. Furr has more than 1,400 students.
Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?
It is not known whether the students injured in the September 15, 2015 bus crash were wearing seat belts, or if there were even seat belts on the bus. In 2010, a Texas state law went into effect requiring new buses to be equipped with seat and shoulder belts. However, the new law only applies to school buses purchased after 2010. The law does not require older school buses to be equipped with seat belts. Charter buses are required to have seat belts.
Houston Injury Lawyers Help Victims Of Truck And Bus Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck accident or bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation. While existing law makes it difficult to sue governmental bodies like schools, there are exceptions that entitle victims to compensation in certain cases, particularly in motor vehicle accidents.
Morrow & Sheppard help victims and families affected by severe personal injuries and wrongful deaths nationwide. We provide free consultations to everyone. We only get paid when our clients win.