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1 Dead and 33 Injured in Chicago Megabus Accident

A serious Megabus accident that occurred this Thursday near Litchfield, Illinois has left hundreds wondering what exactly went wrong. Our Chicago bus accident attorneys read a report by Usnews.nbc.com detailing the double-decker bus accident that occurred around 1:20pm. The accident left 1 dead and 33 injured after the bus collided into a concrete Illinois interstate bridge support pillar on Interstate 55, a few miles north of Litchfield in Montgomery County south of Springfield. Police say the bus was running from Chicago to St. Louis and was to stop in Colombia, Missouri before arriving to its final destination in Kansas City.

Traveling at full capacity with a total of 81 passengers, the bus’s collision caused many personal injuries, especially to those who were seated near the front of the bus where the most damage took place. Thirty ambulances, five emergency helicopters, and other emergency vehicles responded to the scene, with rescue crews climbing ladders to reach the passengers trapped inside of the smashed front end of the bus. A 25-year old woman who was seated above the driver on the second floor of the bus was killed upon impact, while 38 others suffered serious injuries and were taken by ambulance or helicopter to St. Louis and Springfield hospitals. 36 additional passengers with minor injuries were taken to a community center in Litchfield by school bus. Some passengers could be seen being tended to along the side of Interstate 55, which was shut down in both directions. Descriptions of the accident included statements of panic and chaos, as many could “feel the bus lose control as it rolled into the median and toward the pillar.”

Our Chicago bus accident lawyers learned that the initial cause of the accident was most likely due to a blown tire. A Megabus spokeswoman stated that the bus passed a full preventative maintenance check within the past week before the accident, causing many to be surprised that the accident occurred in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that it would work with authorities “to determine if there are safety implications that merit agency action.” Meanwhile, Megabus has stated, “Safety remains our number one priority. The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved.”

Records show that Megabus, a popular intercity service for many since 2006, surprisingly had three accidents occur in 2011 in which one person died in each crash. A total of six bus accidents have occurred in Chicago the last two years. In a recent report by Chicago.cbslocal.com, one Illinois bus customer was not surprised by Thursday’s bus accident. The woman told CBS reporters that she rode on a Megabus this summer that was driven by a distracted driver. She reported that the driver was untangling headphones while driving, in addition using her phone to turn on music, which resulted in the driver taking her eyes off the road and her hand off of the wheel. The driver’s trainer was allegedly sleeping nearby. The woman said that after she woke the trainer up to complain, “He looked at me and the driver and said ‘she’s fine.'”

From the perspective of our Illinois bus accident attorneys, while Megabus claims to make customer safety a priority and has received many satisfactory ratings from numerous safety administrations, one too many bus accidents have occurred in Chicago and surrounding areas as of recent years, prompting calls for tougher regulation. While some of these accidents are due to equipment malfunction, many are due to distracted or negligent driving. Buses are already extremely difficult vehicles to drive and maneuver through narrow city roadways and under low overpasses due to their large size and heavy weight; driving while texting, talking on the phone, or failing to following rules of the road simply cannot happen, as accidents can easily occur and become deadly for those involved. Not to mention, every bus driver has a responsibility to transport all passengers on the bus to their designated destination in the safest possible manner. Bus travel in surrounding areas has already been affected due to Thursday’s accident; a number of Chicago residents and tourists are avoiding front row seats of buses, or are avoiding riding buses all together, in the case that an accident should occur. Many agree that this worry for innocent passengers should not exist, and they should feel safe while traveling on all public transportation in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Although the above report does not state if anyone was to blame in this particular incident or confirm whether any victims planned to seek legal action, when individuals do suffer serious injuries as a result of careless or negligent motorists, they have the right to take action. Our Illinois bus accident lawyers understand that accidents involving buses or other large commercial vehicles can result in personal injury and life altering consequences.

If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in an Illinois trucking accident due to a negligent driver, please contact our team of Chicago personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.