A tragic bus accident in Bloomington, Indiana, on July 22, 2017, took the lives of three people, including two young parents. Authorities believe the accident was caused when the bus driver became momentarily distracted and collided with a minivan, killing the three adults inside. Now, a family is without its parents and loved ones are left wondering how such a devastating bus accident could occur.
Bus Driver Distracted Before Indiana Bus Accident
According to an accident report, the Bloomington bus crash was caused around 1:45 p.m. when Brian Hodges, the bus driver, looked down from the road briefly to kick away some ice that had spilled at his feet. As he looked down, he missed warning signs on North Business Ind. 37 alerting drivers to a lane restriction north of Bloomington. When he looked up, Hodges was unable to brake in time for stopped traffic.
The bus involved in the accident was a Miller passenger bus that was contracted by Greyhound. Police say it was traveling at full speed when the collision occurred. In all, five vehicles were involved in the chain reaction accident although the only fatalities were in the minivan. The driver of one of the other vehicles reportedly suffered head injuries.
According to Miller Transport, the bus was headed to Louisville from Chicago with 16 passengers on board when the accident happened.
“I heard the screech and the bang of a horrific crash and just sat there to myself for a second and questioned what I saw and then called 911 and walked up on the scene,” witness Ryan Short told reporters.
Victims of Bloomington Bus Crash Named
Killed in the accident was 30-year-old Orlando “C.J.” Lewis Jr., his wife, 30-year-old Shante Lewis, and Shante’s mother, 54-year-old Rose Pettus. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. Injured in the accident was their two-year-old daughter, Khloe Lewis, who was taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries that are reportedly not life-threatening.
Lewis’ mother sent a statement to FOX59 about her son.
“Orlando was my only son, he was my world. He loved his two children immensely. He was loved by all who knew him. A beautiful spirit has been taken from us.”
Marica Dunbar White, who was friends with Shante, remembered her as an amazing woman who was loyal to her friends.
Miller Transportation Releases Statement Regarding Crash
The company that owned the bus involved in the accident issued a statement to Fox59.
“Unfortunately, it appears there were fatalities as a result of this accident. We are greatly saddened for this loss of life and offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families and all those impacted by this accident. We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation.”
Conflicting Reports on Whether Speed was a Factor
The Bloomington bus crash happened on a stretch of road that was under construction. E&B Paving, the contractor responsible for the project, said there were speed reduction signs warning drivers to slow down from 45 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour for the construction zone. But an officer on the scene said he did not think there were speed reduction signs up at the time of the accident, possibly resulting in the bus driver traveling at 45 miles per hour instead of the reduced 30 miles per hour.
Due to construction at the North Business Ind. 37 intersection at Bayles Road, traffic in the area was reduced to one lane. The bus came upon stopped traffic and collided with the 2003 Chrysler Town & Country van pushing it into other vehicles, including a Jeep Wrangler and a Mini Cooper.
One of the flaggers on the scene told reporters he dove to the side so he wouldn’t be hit by any of the vehicles in the chain reaction.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crash. Autopsies were conducted in Terre Haute.
Bus Crash Attorneys
Charter bus accidents can be catastrophic for the people on the bus and in other vehicles. Bus occupants, who are frequently without seatbelts or proper restraints, are at risk of ejection in the case of a rollover accident. Meanwhile, because of the vast size difference between a bus and smaller passenger vehicles, occupants in other vehicles are also at risk of devastating injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus crash, contact Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are experienced in bus accident investigations and litigation, and have successfully defended the rights of bus accident victims and their families.