A bus accident in Leesburg, Virginia on Sept. 8 first looked to first responders as a relatively simple, single-vehicle event. It appeared that an old school bus, which had been converted into a food truck and painted red, had missed a stop sign and slammed into a guardrail. The driver of the bus and his two passengers had only minor injuries.
However, as emergency workers got closer to the accident, what they thought was a relatively simple minor accident was much, much worse. Under the 10-ton school bus was a car whose frame had been mostly crushed by the immense weight of the bus. Trapped in the Audi automobile was a family of five.
Police and emergency workers worked tirelessly for three hours to get the family out. They had to be sawed out carefully through a web of twisted aluminum. Inside were a female driver, her mother, and three children. They used saws, jacks and the Jaws of Life (hydraulic spreaders) to get inside the mangled car.
They, fortunately, were able to save four, all of whom had serious injuries. But they could not save the driver, Erin Kaplan, 40, who was pronounced dead at the crash scene. At this time, two of the children are in stable condition at Fairfax Inova Hospital. The status of the others is unknown.
The police stated that the fatal bus and car accident happened at 4:50 pm on Sept. 8 when a Dane’s Great American Hamburger food truck ran a stop sign at the end of Watson Road in Leesburg. It slammed into the Audi station wagon as it was going north on Evergreen Mills Road. The bus T-boned the Audi and slammed it into the embankment.
Charges are likely to be filed against the bus driver.
All of our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in Virginia Beach send our deepest condolences to the family of the woman who died in this terrible bus and car accident. We truly hope that all of the injured recovers as soon as possible.
Obviously, all drivers in Virginia are required to stop at a clearly marked stop sign and must yield right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on the highway from either direction. Sadly, it seems that the bus driver was distracted by something while he was driving. We do not know from this Washington Post story what that distraction was. Distracted driving killed 3477 people in 2015, and it continues to kill every year.
The woman who died was a mother and possibly a breadwinner for her family. The surviving family may want to think about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, as a successful verdict or settlement can provide sometimes millions of dollars for the family. This can be invaluable in helping the survivors financially to recover from such a devastating personal loss.