Third lawsuit says bus crash causes child to suffer disfigurement, brain injury

Third lawsuit says bus crash causes child to suffer disfigurement, brain injury

December 6th, 2016 by Zack Peterson in Local Regional News

Johnthony Walker, the bus driver charged in the school bus crash on Talley Road that left six children dead and others injured on Nov. 21, makes his first appearance in Judge Lila Statom's courtroom on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Gallery: School bus crash victims

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A minor will suffer from disability, disfigurement and a traumatic brain injury because of the deadly Woodmore Elementary school bus crash, according to a third lawsuit filed Monday in connection with the tragedy.

"It is heartbreaking whenever children are involved, especially when the crash was as preventable as this one appears to be," Joseph Fried, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said Monday in a prepared statement.

Fried and another attorney, Michael Goldberg, who work at the same firm in Atlanta, Ga., released the lawsuit Monday on behalf of the child's mother and family.

It asks for whatever amount of damages the court deems appropriate and alleges that the company that operates school buses for Hamilton County, Durham School Services, was "grossly negligent" for hiring 24-year-old Johnthony Walker. Police say Walker was speeding on Talley Road when he lost control on Nov. 21 and swerved into a telephone pole and a tree. In total, six children have died and several more were injured as a result of the crash.

Like the other two lawsuits filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court, Monday's suit claims Durham is liable for Walker's behavior at the time of the crash. Durham, a private company based in Downers Grove, Ill., has been providing most of the county's buses and drivers since 2007. CEO David Duke told the Times Free Press last week that Durham is paying for Walker's attorney, who faces six counts of vehicular homicide, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of reckless driving.

Goldberg and Fried's firm previously handled a case for two families of Georgia Southern nursing school students who were killed in a collision with a tractor trailer in 2015, a press release said.

"This case has similarities to the Georgia Southern nursing student cases in that we believe the problem is much bigger than just a negligent driver," Fried said in his statement.

"We believe that corporate negligence is very much at issue and we intend to get to the bottom of it so this does not happen again."

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.

Document: Shanquatta Byrd v Durham

Attorneys Joseph Fried and Michael Goldberg of Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC have filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Circuit Court on behalf of the minor daughter of Shanquatta Byrd, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in the school bus crash on November 21, 2016.

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Document: Second Woodmore lawsuit

Read the lawsuit a second family has filed against Johnthony Walker and Durham School Services.

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Document: Woodmore bus crash lawsuit

Lawsuit filed against school bus driver and Durham

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