Bus Crash Driver Medical Emergency Defense Motion Denied

The District Court in Freeborn County, Minnesota has denied the defendant’s motion for Summary Judgement in the I-90 bus crash of November 18, 2009.  The coach tour bus owned by Strain Tours (dba Bold Lines) was returning from Diamond Jo Casino to Rochester MN when it crossed the center line of I-90 near Austin MN passing through the median and turning over on its side, injuring twenty-two and killing two passengers. The bus driver and tour bus company asked the Court to dismiss plaintiff’s claims alleging the driver suffered a sudden medical emergency.  Defendants claimed the driver suffered an unexpected internal bleed that caused a loss of consciousness resulting in the crash.  Plaintiffs presented evidence showing the driver suffered from untreated sleep apnea and lied to doctors and DOT medical examiners about his condition in order to maintain his commercial license.  Plaintiffs also presented medical evidence showing the driver’s post-crash condition was consistent with hypersomnolence (falling asleep) and was not consistent with a loss of consciousness from internal bleeding.

The Court’s Memorandum set forth the following findings:  ”

In this case the Court received and reviewed the following:  a) A large volume of conflicting medical evidence regarding the cause of the bus driver’s sudden loss of consciousness;  b) The fact that the bus driver was diagnosed with and suffered from obstructive sleep apnea;  c) That the bus driver lied to physicians regarding his medical history and medical condition;  d) That the bus driver lied to the DOT examiners regarding his medical history and medical condition; and e) That the bus driver may have been exhibiting symptoms of his prior medical condition immediately preceding the accident.”