On a Pennsylvania highway on March 16, 2013, at around 9:00 a.m., a charter bus carrying 23 players and coaches from the Seton Hill College woman’s lacrosse team crashed in an apparent one-vehicle accident. Tragically, the head coach, Kristina Quigley, who was pregnant, died soon after the accident at Hershey Medical Center from her injuries in the accident along with her unborn child.
Quigley was 30 years old and was originally from Baltimore, Maryland. The bus driver, 61 year old Anthony Guaetta of Johnstown, died at the scene. At least two other passengers were seriously injured and treated at Hershey Medical Center and Holy Spirit Hospital.
The accident occurred on the Pennsylvania turnpike as the team was traveling to an afternoon match with Millersville University, located about 50 miles from the accident scene. Ms. Quigley was a beloved coach at the small Catholic school located outside of Pittsburg and left students and faculty in shock. Other schools with lacrosse teams are honoring the coach at their matches or on social media sites.
Reports from the accident scene showed that the bus had apparently gone off the road and smashed through a guardrail. It traveled about 60 to 75 yards before hitting a tree. The side of the bus was shredded, leaving it with a gaping hole exposing seats, personal belongings and twisted metal.
The investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Company, which regulates bus companies, stated that the bus company was current on its inspections and that the company did not have a record of safety violations or prior accidents. The company was also certified by the Transportation Safety Exchange, a prestigious level of certification.
This case demonstrates that even with a proven safety record, accidents still happen. Since the bus driver seemingly lost control, it could be surmised that the driver either fell asleep, was distracted or had to suddenly swerve to avoid an animal, vehicle or other object. Other explanations are mechanical failure such as inadequate brakes or steering problems.
Investigators might also explain the guardrail that failed to prevent the bus from crashing through it and into a grove of trees. According to a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the guardrail was only intended to denote property lines and not to stop vehicles. There was no report on whether a guardrail designed to keep vehicles from crashing through it was required on this stretch of roadway.
Call The Bus Accident Lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law
Bus accidents can result in catastrophic injuries as well as fatalities. If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident we can advise you on what to expect after a bus accident. For example, we strongly advise accident victims to not talk with bus company executives or insurance agents and to not give a written or recorded statement.
Insurers and bus company investigators only have the interests of the bus company in mind and will minimize their client’s liability as well as your injuries. Protect your rights by retaining our offices.
Not all bus accidents are the same. These are complex cases with issues involving insurance, statutes of limitation, liability, medical care, and investigations into whether state regulations were followed. A thorough examination of the bus must also be conducted. Further, there may be multiple parties that bear responsibility.
Protect your legal rights and explore your options by calling Jon Ostroff today for a free consultation.