A collision between a Ford Mustang and a public school bus sent nine students to hospitals with injuries and left many other children needing medical treatment for cuts and bruises. The crash happened in Johnston County, North Carolina (NC), on the afternoon of October 27, 2017.
Highway Patrol troopers received the call about the wreck at 3:40 pm. Upon arriving at the intersection of NC 96 and Godwin Lake Road, they found the car wedged under the back end of the bus from Meadow School in the nearby town of Benson.
Seven students who had been aboard the bus were taken to hospitals for treatment and released. Another eight bus riders needed first aid.
A 13-year-old passenger in the Mustang suffered the most-severe injuries. A witness described seeing a compound fracture to the passenger’s ankle and multiple facial lacerations. The 17-year-old driver of the car also sustained serious injuries.
Troopers determined that the teenaged driver had run the stop sign on Godwin Lake Road. They did not immediately file charges, but section 20-158(b1) of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it clear that drivers must wait at stop signs until an intersection clears completely. Specifically, the law reads:
When a stop sign has been erected or installed at an intersection, it shall be unlawful for the driver of any vehicle to fail to stop in obedience thereto and yield the right-of-way to vehicles operating on the designated main-traveled or through highway. When stop signs have been erected at three or more entrances to an intersection, the driver, after stopping in obedience thereto, may proceed with caution.
Mistakes by teen drivers cause thousands of preventable injuries and deaths on U.S. roads each year. On its teen driver page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent notes, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Six teens ages 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.”
The parents of the students who suffered the worst injuries in the school bus crash on NC 96 outside of Benson should have strong grounds for filing personal injury claims against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. The large number of victims will probably result in settlements that exceed the teen driver’s coverage limits, however. If that happens, working with an experienced and knowledgeable Carolina personal injury lawyer to tap into underinsured motorist coverage provisions of their own insurance policies would help the parents avoid financial hardships following this wreck.