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FedEx, Silverado Stages sued for negligence in Orland bus crash

A local student is suing FedEx and a bus company after surviving a fiery bus crash in Northern California in April.
May 7, 2014 2:58:29 PM PDT
A local student announced he's filing a lawsuit against FedEx and Silverado Stages after surviving last month's fiery bus crash that killed 10 people in Northern California en route to a university visit.

The charter bus was carrying various students from the Southland to a weekend visit to the campus of Humboldt State University in Arcata when the collision occurred just west of the town of Orland, near Chico, on April 11.

Mount Washington resident Miles Hill, 18, had the negligence lawsuit filed on his behalf on Tuesday. Hill, a student at Renaissance Arts Academy in Eagle Rock, says there were no safety instructions onboard the bus about what to do in emergencies.

"There was no briefing on how to use those exits at all. There was lots of us struggling to get them open," said Hill at a news conference Wednesday. "If we had been instructed on how to use them, I'm sure we would have been OK."

Hill said he was sitting toward the front of the bus near the driver at the time of the crash. Hill was wearing his seatbelt, but said some people were not. He kicked out a window and helped another student out. Hill was burned and suffered a broken collarbone.

"I should have died," said Hill on Wednesday. "What happened was nothing short of a miracle. I should not be here."

Hill's suit alleges the FedEx driver negligently crossed from southbound lanes into northbound lanes into the path of oncoming bus, causing the crash. The suit claims FedEx failed to inspect the tractor-trailer to ensure its safe operation.

"Something happened with the driver that caused that loss of control and crossing over the median. That's negligence," said attorney Christine Spagnoli.

A lawsuit was filed against FedEx on April 22 by the mother of a student killed on the bus.

Contacted by Eyewitness News, FedEx Spokesperson Shea Leordeanu said in a statement: "Our heartfelt condolences remain with everyone touched by this tragic accident. We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation. This is not the time for us to discuss pending litigation."

City News Service contributed to this report.