Driver and company negligence to blame for fatal bus accident

A fatal bus accident that happened in Connecticut earlier this month highlights the types of negligence seen in serious bus crashes in Texas and across the United States.  In this case, a 16 year old boy was killed and several others injured when a bus crashed into a Volvo station wagon and then plunged down a highway embankment.


As a result of the accident a lawsuit was filed against the bus company, the bus driver, and the driver of the Volvo on behalf of a student seriously injured in the crash.


The bus was carrying a teacher and 16 students from a high school on their way to a robotics competition when the accident happened.  It was being driven by Paul Burns, who according to the lawsuit was not properly supervised or trained for the job of driving the bus.


According to documentation filed in the case, the following issues contributed to the fatal bus crash:

  • The bus company, Autumn Transportation, did not properly supervise or train its employees.
  • Burns was not qualified to drive a bus the size of the one he was driving when the accident happened.  He was, in fact, only licensed to drive buses weighing up to 26,000 pounds that carry 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.  The bus involved in the crash weighed 29,800 pounds and was carrying 17 passengers – 18 people total with the driver (the DMV actually suspended Burns’ license to drive a bus after the crash).
  • Burns failed to look for other cars on the highway, was driving too fast for conditions, and failed to press the brakes in time to avoid a crash when the accident happened.
  • The driver of the Volvo, Christopher Toppi, 16, was also blamed in the lawsuit for contributing to the crash by failing to look for other cars, driving too fast, and failing to brake in time to avoid an accident.


The police investigation into the crash is ongoing, as investigators review a video tape from the bus and the DMV investigates driver and vehicle maintenance records.  No charges have yet been filed by police.


Bus company negligence was also a contributing factor in the horrifying Sherman bus crash that happened last August, which killed 17 people and injured another 38.  When bus companies and their drivers fail to follow basic safety principles – and the law – victims’ families sometimes have no other recourse but to hire a personal injury attorney.


If you or your loved ones need help from a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer, please contact the Houston based law office of VB Attorneys today.


Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.