A 2017 school bus accident that left an 8-year-old boy with a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury is the subject of a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit. The incident took place just before noon on May 17, 2017, when elementary school student A.J. Harper disembarked from his school bus and crossed N.C. 62. The bus driver failed to engage the bus’ stop sign, lights or crossing arm, and the child was hit by a vehicle. The vehicle’s driver has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as have the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education and N.C. Industrial Commission.
The lawsuit was filed on the boy’s behalf by his great aunt and uncle, Sylvia and Donald McCormick, who witnessed the horrific accident that led to the boy’s traumatic brain injury. The two have cared for the child since he was a toddler, and Mrs. McCormick was there to pick the child up from his bus stop when the accident occurred. The suit claims that since the time of the accident she has suffered “severe emotional distress, including chronic depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Bus Driver’s Failures Blamed for Boy’s Traumatic Brain Injury
The traumatic brain injury and other serious injuries occurred shortly after bus driver John Woodson Crawford stopped the vehicle. According to the lawsuit, the driver was aware that the boy and other students would need to cross the road, and though he told the boy it was safe to cross he failed to activate the required safety equipment. An automobile driven by Georgie Isley was approaching, and Isley failed to see the child until she hit him. The child was thrown in the air, hitting his head and body on the pavement.
The traumatic brain injury, skull and facial fractures and other injuries that the child sustained have left him in need of physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as other treatments, and he continues to suffer “physical, cognitive and other problems”. The suit charges Isley with negligence for failing to drive with the caution needed on a stretch of road that she knew to be frequented by school children. Crawford is also blamed for failing to deploy the safety equipment.