Parents Of 5-year-old Injured At Bus Stop Seek $1.5 Million

School Board, Others Named In Claim

March 22, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

An Ellicott City couple whose daughter was struck by a car after stepping off a school bus last fall is suing the county school board andothers, claiming the bus stop was unsafe.

Nicole Armstrong, 5, was hit as she tried to cross the street in front of her home, in the 4100 block of Old Columbia Pike. She suffered multiple injuries in theaccident, the suit said.

Her parents, John and Carla Armstrong, claim that the school system should have known the bus stop was not in a safe location. The stop is near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Route 103.

Also named as defendants in the suit are Timi Lash, the driver of the car, Woodlawn Motor Coach Co., which owns the school bus, and the bus driver, Henry Thomas Chavis.

The Armstrongs are seeking damages totaling $1.5 million.

The accident occurred at 4 p.m. on Sept. 30 as Nicole's school bus from Worthington Elementary School dropped her off at the stop across the street from her house.

As Nicole crossed thestreet, the suit states, she was struck in the face by the left sidemirror of a Ford Fiesta traveling north on Old Columbia Pike. The driver failed to stop for the bus's flashing red-light signal.

The Armstrongs say that Nicole's activities, including her attendance at school, have been restricted because of her injuries. She suffered a fractured nasal bone, severe pain and severe and permanent damage to her nervous system, the suit says.

Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for the county school system, said that school staff works closely with traffic engineers from the county Department of Public Works to ensure the safety of the bus routes.

"No matter how safe the stops are, the real safety of a stop is based on the safety of the drivers using the road," Caplan said.

According to the lawsuit, approaching vehicles have limited visibility of bus stop near the Armstrong home.

The stop is in a commercial area where large trucks enter and exit from several points. Even when a school bus's red lights are flashing, the suit states, the road is dangerous for small children to cross.

The Armstrongs accuse Woodlawn Motor Coach and driver Chavis of negligence because they failed to inform the school board of the dangerous location of the bus stop.

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