34 injured in bus crash following Harvard visit

A charter bus carrying students and chaperones who had been visiting Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was involved in an accident Saturday evening when the top of the bus crashed into a bridge. The bus accident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Soldier’s Field Road in Boston. Police said the driver of the bus failed to take notice to signs warning that the overpass had a low clearance.

In all, 34 passengers on the bus were injured. One person suffered life-threatening injuries and three were left with serious injuries, officials with Boston Emergency Medical Services said. Some passengers were reportedly trapped on the bus for more than an hour before rescue workers could reach them.

Police said the bus never should have been on the busy cross-town road in the first place as there is a 10-foot height limit in place and oversized vehicles are unauthorized. The driver of the bus, who has not yet been identified, will likely be cited for an over-height violation, police said. They said the driver could face additional more serious charges stemming from the accident as well.

The charter bus is owned by Calvary Coach Bus, a Philadelphia-based bus company. The bus was en route back to the Philadelphia area when the accident occurred. The owner of the bus company, who said he didn’t know about the height restriction on the road, told the Associated Press that the driver was being interviewed by police.

The students and chaperones on the bus were part of a nonprofit group that helps underprivileged kids. It appears that the group visited Harvard to tour the campus and meet with the office of cultural advancement. At this point, it is unclear how many of the injured were juveniles and how many were adults.

In the wake of this tragic accident, it is likely that the bus company could face a personal injury lawsuit brought by the passengers who were injured. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, employers can be held liable for the negligent action of their employees so long as the behavior fell within the scope of employment.

Source: NPR, “Dozens Injured In Boston Bus Crash,” Feb. 3, 2013