The owners of a Canadian charter bus and a tractor-trailer have agreed to pay $36 million to settle a lawsuit arising out of a 2005 highway collision in western New York that killed four people and injured 19. The settlement with Coach Canada and two Pennsylvania trucking firms came as a number of trials were set to begin last month. The bus was carrying a Canadian youth hockey team from Windsor, Ontario, when it swerved off an interstate highway about 30 miles south of Rochester and slammed into the truck parked on the side of the highway. Two insurers for Coach Canada are paying $22.5 million — almost two-thirds of the settlement — and three insurers for the truck operator, J & J Hauling Inc. of York Springs, Pa., and trailer owner Verdelli Farms of Harrisburg, Pa., are contributing $13.5 million.
Investigating officers suspected that driver fatigue and inexperience led to the crash. The 24-year-old bus driver had driven for the bus company for two months. Witnesses said he was driving erratically before the crash. The driver pleaded guilty to a logbook violation and a traffic violation of failing to stay in the proper lane and was fined $300. The bus was chartered in Windsor by the hockey team and was traveling to a ski resort when the crash occurred at dusk. Authorities alleged the bus driver lied about the hours he worked in another job during the three days before the crash and failed to report in the driver’s log book that he drove team members around Rochester in the six hours before they embarked on the ski trip. Commercial drivers are required to maintain accurate logs of their work hours and break times.
Source: Washington Post
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