We told you about a school bus in Kane County that rolled over on Friday and injured nine special-needs children. As it turns out, that wasn’t the first school bus accident in Illinois that week. A bus in Lake County had also been involved in a collision; but what’s even more disturbing is that the vehicle which T-boned the school bus was a deputy sheriff’s squad car.
On Thursday afternoon about 4pm, the bus carrying 42 middle school students was traveling west on Illinois 60 and had just passed Round Lake. At the same time, a Lake County sheriff’s deputy was responding to a domestic disturbance report, and was driving west on Illinois 60 with its lights and sirens activated. The car moved into the eastbound lanes to pass traffic; but when it reached Blackhawk Trail, the school bus began turning left. The squad car rammed the school bus on its left side. Three students aged ten through twelve had to be transported to a hospital for treatment.This school bus accident raises questions which are not usually present in auto accident cases. Was the sheriff’s deputy negligent by trying to pass slower traffic, even though his car’s sirens and lights were on? Or should the bus driver have seen the squad car passing her bus before making her left turn? The director of Fremont School District 79, which was operating the bus, says, “all the evidence shows the driver did everything properly.” But the law states that police vehicles have the right of way when they are responding to an emergency and have lights and sirens activated.So who is at fault? Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the parents of the three injured kids might file personal injury lawsuits against either the deputy sheriff and the sheriff’s department or the bus driver and the school district (or perhaps all of them).