Lawsuit filed against trucking companies, driver involved in Warsaw bus crash
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - It has been 18 days since a bus full of high school hockey players was hit by a semi-truck that allegedly ran a red light in Warsaw.
The J.V. team from St. Ignatius in Chicago was participating in a weekend hockey tournament in Culver.
16 of those players are now suing the truck driver and the two companies he was working for.
The suit is a way for the parents of the players to strike back and hold the truck driver accountable.
For instance, the suit will allow parents to obtain surveillance video of the crash, although some say they’re not sure they’d be able to watch it.
“As a child, everyone’s been on a school bus. As a parent you’ve sent your kids on field trips, you sent them to tournaments. You think that your child is going to be safe, and in our case, our kids were on a school bus with the most amazing coaching staff in a small town in Indiana, and we just assumed that they were going to be safe. And unfortunately, this happened,” said parent and plaintiff Eileen Murphy at a Tuesday news conference held in the office of the Chicago attorney who filed the suit.
The truck driver, 58-year-old Victor Santos of New York, already faces 26 separate criminal felony counts that allege he was drunk at the time of the crash and that he ran a red light.
While all the legal proceedings will allow plenty of opportunity for parents to see Santos’ face to face, for some, that already happened at the hospital on the night of the accident.
“Then I saw the cops bring this guy, you know, handcuffs, you know, red eyes, like cold, robotic, as if nothing had happened. And I didn’t know because I was tending to one of the boys, and I looked, then it clicked to me, I was like, that’s the guy,” explained parent Karl D’Cunha.
One of the players remains hospitalized in Chicago. Others are in various states of recovery. We’re told a team practice has already taken place for those who are still able to skate.
“You know, his face is healing, his concussion does not seem to be getting better,” said parent Wendy Cook. “In fact, yesterday is the worst day he’s had since the accident happened.”
A motion has been filed to reduce the bond for Santos, which now stands at $77,500.
The request is set for hearing on January 9th.
The civil suit names Santos along with New Jersey based N & V Trucking Express, along with B & W Cartage Company, based in Taylor, Michigan.
“We are going to serve these defendants promptly and engage in discovery and find out why this man who had a prior criminal conviction for rape and had violated federal motor carrier safety regulations in Indiana, was driving,” said Attorney Tim Cavanagh. “What responsible trucking company would allow this man to drive? We’re going to find answers to that.”
The entire lawsuit is enclosed below:
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