Second Texas Bus Accident Lawsuit FiledAug 19, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
Another lawsuit has been filed in the Texas bus crash that killed 17 people earlier this month. The complaint, filed by the estate of Cham Nguyen, alleges that negligence on the part of the owner and driver of the bus, as well as the vehicle's manufacturer, caused her death.
The August 8th bus accident was the nation’s deadliest since 2005. The charter bus, taking a group of Vietnamese Catholics to a religious festival in Missouri, blew an illegally treaded tire, skidded off the highway and overturned. In addition to the deaths, 38 people were injured.
The bus involved in the accident was registered to Iguala Busmex. The Houston-based company is owned by Angel De La Torre. According to the Dallas Morning News, De La Torre De la Torre opened Iguala Busmex three days after federal investigators banned one of his other companies, Angel Tours, from interstate travel after finding safety violations. Despite those violations, Iguala Busmex was able to receive a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. However, the company had not yet been approved for operation at the time of the accident.
The 52-year-old driver of the bus, Barrett Wayne Broussard, had been cited by police three times since 2001 for motor vehicle violations — once for driving while intoxicated and twice for speeding. Broussard has also failed roadside inspections twice in the last year, both times resulting in his vehicle being taken out of service for driver logbook violations. When the second violation occurred, Broussard was driving for Angel Tours. Broussard, who was injured in the bus accident, is still hospitalized in critical condition.
Following the tragedy, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that “grossly deficient vehicle maintenance” contributed the accident. The agency ordered Iguala Busmex, and Angel Tours to cease commercial operations Sunday, after finding that the companies posed an “imminent hazard.” A second order issued to De La Torre, said that his “activities in connection with motor carrier operations pose an ‘imminent hazard’ to the public.”
The Nguyen lawsuit is at least the second stemming from the Texas bus crash. Last week, a man whose wife was injured in the crash also filed suit. His wife was the daughter of Cham Nguyen. Nguyen's other daughter, Catherine Tran, also died in the crash.