It was Christmas Eve when a Greyhound bus slammed into a North Carolina state trooper on Interstate 40. While on call at an accident scene to conduct an investigation of a fatal crash, a Greyhound bus struck the trooper’s parked SUV. The News & Observer reported that an emotional jury determined the $7 million award after hearing the testimony of the bus driver striking the trooper while it was traveling at nearly 70 mph.
Although the trooper’s SUV was parked on the highway with it’s emergency lights flashing, it was not enough to stop the bus from crashing into him. The crash pushed the Chevy Tahoe down the highway for 170 feet and the SUV crumpled in half. The sudden and intense impact left the former Highway Patrol officer with broken bones. He also suffered serious cognitive, back and neck injuries. Debilitating long-term medical issues prevent his returning to work as a state trooper at any time.
During the court trial, footage from the SUV’s dashboard camera showed the highway with flashing lights. The trooper was present at the scene of an accident that occurred earlier, and the gathered emergency vehicles had their lights on. The footage also showed that the bus driver tried to avoid hitting the SUV, but was not successful. The driver had the bus moving at 68 mph on cruise control even though the speed limit is 65 mph. It was determined that the bus driver was working scheduled hours greater than federal regulations allow, even though he denied being tired.
Accidents caused by negligent drivers may result in large jury awards that include compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. According to an investigation conducted by CNN, the Greyhound bus company also failed to enforce its own safety rules.