Motor Vehicle Collision Involving a School Bus and 43 Children

Motor Vehicle Collision Involving a School Bus and 43 Children

About 5 miles north of the small town of Orondo, the driver of a moving van fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into first a car, and then a school bus. The accident left one person dead and sent dozens of children to the hospital.

The driver of the van, Kenneth Hahn, a 54 year-old resident of Yakima, caused the accident at 8:10 a.m. on March 5, 2015. The van he was driving traversed the centerline of the road and crashed into another car, sending it off the road and over an embankment. The driver of the car, 22 year-old Carmela Cuellar-Morales, died in the crash. Additionally, the passenger in her car, 12 year-old Aurora Ceullar-Morales, was treated and released by the hospital. The van then plowed into a school bus occupied by 43 children and the school bus driver.

Fortunately, most of the injuries to the children and to the school bus driver were minor. All children, regardless of whether their injuries were apparent or not, were taken to the Central Washington Hospital for treatment. Hahn, meanwhile, had serious injuries, as did the passenger in his van, 36 year-old Michael Driver.

Douglas County Sheriff, Harvey Gjesdal, said that the accident was the worst he had ever seen in his 30-year career.Hahn now faces pending criminal charges. In addition, the fact that he fell asleep at the wheel subjects him to personal injury liability. Not only can the state charge Hahn on a criminal basis; every party who was harmed in the accident may have the basis to bring a personal injury claim against him.

The accident will cause rippling effects on the families of all of those involved. The family of Carmela Cuellar-Morales will endure her loss. The families of the children involved will have to help them overcome their traumas and injuries. Michael Driver, the passenger in Hahn’s van, has injuries that he must recover from as well.

If you have been in a car accident like this one, it can be difficult to know where to start, and how to even understand your legal options. However, Abeyta Nelson is here to help. If you would like a consultation, call toll free at (800) 927-2845, or email us at injurylaw@abeytanelson.com.