Reckless Truck Driver Sentenced to 20 Years for Bus Crash

The truck driver of an 18-wheeler that struck a stopped school bus on U.S. 301 in Bradford County, Florida in 2014 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The truck driver pled no contest to four counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury, but at his sentencing hearing, the driver blamed the truck owner for the bus crash, claiming that the company failed to properly maintain the commercial truck.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the truck driver was operating a log-hauling big rig when it struck a school bus that had stopped to drop off students at a bus stop. When it was struck from behind, the school bus had its flashing yellow lights on and stop arm extended. Upon impact, the bus was pushed off the road and through a ditch, while the truck jack-knifed. Just prior to the impact, 911 operators had received two calls—one from a fellow truck driver—about the big rig driving in an erratic manner along the highway. FHP did report that eight of the truck’s ten brakes were defective, making the large truck dangerous to be on the road.

Of the fifteen elementary school children onboard the bus, seven children were injured, as well as the school bus driver and the commercial truck driver and his wife, who was a passenger in the semi truck and who was reportedly naked at the time of the crash. Parents of the injured children provided emotional testimony at the truck driver’s sentencing hearing regarding the violent collision and the life-long toll that it has taken on the innocent children and their futures.

Florida Division of Motor Vehicle records showed that the truck driver’s license had been suspended in 2011 when his insurance was canceled and in 2013 for his failure to pay a fine. Additionally, the truck driver had received five driving violations since 2007, including two for driving with a suspended license, two for speeding, and one for operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe condition, as well as one tag violation. The truck driver’s criminal record in Putnam County also included numerous arrests for charges such as grand theft, domestic battery, burglary, theft, trespassing and shoplifting.

Tampa Truck Accident Injury Law Firm

The Capaz Law Firm understands that, in addition to reckless drivers being held accountable for their negligence, often the trucking companies, company supervisors, and vehicle owners should also be held liable for their negligence. The trucking companies and employers have duty to place capable and safe drivers behind the wheels of commercial vehicles and trucks, as well as duties to provide proper training, to properly supervise, and to conduct thorough background checks to prevent unnecessary risks to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. It is unfortunate that those truck drivers who are poorly trained, unsupervised, unfit and under-qualified and who have a history of driving and criminal violations are often the cause of many unnecessary and preventable accidents across the country each year. When unsafe and unqualified truck drivers are retained and authorized to operate large commercial vehicles due to the negligence of his or her employer or some other entity and a trucking accident occurs, it is imperative to contact an experienced Tampa trucking attorney to initiate an investigation into possible claims of negligent hiring, supervision and retention.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking or commercial vehicle accident, contact the Capaz Law Firm at 813-440-2700 to speak with a Tampa truck accident lawyer. Our accident injury attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience handling tractor-trailer, large truck and commercial vehicle accidents, and will work aggressively to hold all responsible parties liable for their negligent actions.