On September 19, 2021, a charter bus loaded with 31 high school girls and volunteer leaders from the Lives Changed by Christ (LCBC) Church crashed on Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, leaving more than two dozen injured.
The charter bus was one of three returning students from the LCBC High School Ministry Fall Retreat at Lake Champlain in New York to the church’s Manheim campus. The two other buses returned to Manheim safely.
The accident happened at approximately 3:00 p.m. local time when the bus veered off I-81 near Exit 112 to Hegins. Authorities say the bus rolled down a grass hill, then crossed State Route 25, and slammed through the highway’s center guard rail. It then continued through an embankment and traveled for another 50 yards before finally coming to rest in a wooded area.
According to LCBC, the crashed bus was filled with freshmen and sophomore girls. All but one of the 31 people on the bus were transported to five area hospitals. Four individuals who sustained serious injuries were airlifted to Hershey Medical Center and the Geisinger Hospital in Danville. News agencies reported that the bus driver, 37-year-old Adam Wright, sustained serious injuries in the crash.
The day after the Pennsylvania bus accident, LCBC issued a news update noting that 18 of the 31 individuals aboard the bus had been released from hospitals. LCBC Church also created a Fall Retreat Bus Accident Support Fund to help the families impacted by this accident.
Authorities say LCBC Church chartered the bus from Premiere #1 Limousine Service operating out of Middletown, Pennsylvania. According to government data, the company did not have a serious accident or incident in two years prior to the September 2021 crash in Schuylkill County.
What Caused the Bus Accident Near Hegins, PA?
Authorities will likely take several months to issue a report on the Pennsylvania crash. Once officials have completed an investigation, they will announce a probable cause (or causes) of the Schuykill Couny bus accident.
Attorney Ronald L. M. Goldman has decades of experience investigating the circumstances surrounding charter bus crashes. In his 50+ years as a practicing attorney, Ron has litigated numerous cases against major bus companies throughout the country.
“A lot of times, people assume the driver had to have done something wrong when a bus leaves the road like this,” Goldman says. “Sometimes that is the case—the driver may have experienced a medical issue, or possibly was distracted or fatigued. But we must remember that other potential issues deserve the same amount of attention. Was the bus in good mechanical condition? Did the bus company properly maintain the vehicle to ensure safe travel for its passengers? Did the tires or the brakes malfunction because of a defect? Could the accident have been avoided entirely if the bus had been adequately equipped with modern technology? Investigators will need to answer these and other questions for the families of the injured.”
Bus Accident Attorneys | Safety Advocates with Proven Track Record
As committed advocates for the safety of bus passengers, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman accident lawyers have been calling for the installation of advanced safety systems on buses and trucks for many years. Bus passengers and highway travelers deserve to be protected by effective safety systems like automatic braking, collision avoidance, lap and shoulder seatbelts, lane deviation warning systems, and others. But the unsettling truth is that most buses lack safety features that are common on airplanes and passenger vehicles.
Our firm believes that many bus accidents could have been avoided if bus manufacturers, owners, and operators were required to invest in passenger safety when designing, manufacturing, buying, and operating buses.
If you or someone in your family was harmed in a bus crash, please contact the attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman for assistance.
Over the last 30 years, Baum Hedlund has represented bus accident victims in more than 100 cases. Our experience includes claims against (among others):
- American Stage Lines
- American Tour and Leasing Co.
- Ford Motor Company
- San Diego Metropolitan Transit
- Sky Express, Inc.
- Travellers Coach Company Ltd.
- Windsor Inc.
Some reasons to consider Baum Hedlund to represent your interests in a bus accident case:
- $10 million settlement for school bus accident
- $6.2 million settlement for single bus accident client
- $1.9 million settlement for international bus accident
- $1.8 million settlement for tour bus accident
- $1.7 million wrongful death settlement stemming from fatal bus accident
- Extensive experience with complex choice of law and difficult insurance coverage issues
- The firm’s successful bus litigation is featured in the book, Reckless Disregard
- Conducted an international grass-roots bus safety campaign to move the fuel tank to a safer location on school buses
Call (855) 948-5098 today to schedule a free consultation.