A professor and his wife injured in the Nov. 4 bus accident have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bus that carried them and 14 other students and faculty members.
Emmett Miller, assistant professor of agriculture and environmental sciences, and his wife, Pat Miller, filed suit against the bus manufacturers, Thor Industries Inc. of Jackson Center, Ohio, and ElDorado National of Salina, Kan., and the dealer, Lasseter Bus Company Inc. of Lewisville. Houston-based Ammons Law Firm is representing the Millers.
The Millers would not discuss the lawsuit, but court documents lay out their claims against the companies.
“Emmett Miller was present at the scene of the accident and directly experienced, witnessed and perceived the injuries and suffering of his wife,” according to the lawsuit. “Witnessing such severe pain and trauma caused Plaintiff Emmett Miller severe mental anguish, trauma, shock and distress, both physical and emotional, past and future.”
ACU bought the bus involved in the accident from Lasseter in 2008 for $52,683. It was equipped to carry 24 passengers and a driver. According to the lawsuit, none of Thor, ElDorado or Lasseter warned ACU of the uncrashworthy nature of the bus.
The group of 12 students three faculty and one faculty spouse were traveling to Medina Children’s Home on a Friday afternoon when the bus drifted off the highway and into the right-hand ditch.
The bus collided with a concrete culvert, flipped end over end and landed facing south on its wheels with the body nearly removed from the frame, leaving the passenger compartment exposed, said Trooper Shawn Baxter, an officer at the scene of the accident.
According to the lawsuit, the bus was defective and dangerous as designed, manufactured, assembled and sold in that it was accompanied by insufficient warnings and notices about its defective nature.
“Bus rollovers are survivable and catastrophic injuries avoidable if the bus structure remains intact and the occupants are provided appropriate protection and injury prevention within the vehicle structure,” said the lawsuit. “The subject bus, however, did not offer appropriate occupant protection and injury prevention.”
Emmett was released from the hospital after the accident with minor injuries, but Pat remained at San Angelo’s Shannon Memorial Hospital in critical condition. She entered a coma and was moved to Abilene’s Hendrick Medical Center in mid-November for hospice care.
The day Pat was scheduled to be removed from life support, Emmett posted on Facebook that she had woken up from the coma and she was talking and asking questions about people.