9-year-old Girl Killed In Bus Accident. Now What? - Sparrow Law Firm

We are casting our net a little wide of North Carolina today to talk about an accident that occurred in Rhode Island. To date, there are no criminal charges (the accident happened on Thursday, March 26), but there may be. And we know of no civil action, though there may be. The issue for us is the difference between responsibility and liability — that responsibility may be legal or moral, and that liability may be criminal or civil.

Here is what we know:

  • A 9-year-old girl was on her way to school when a transit bus struck and killed her.
  • The driver has been with the transit authority for 16 years, and in all that time he has only been involved in a handful of minor accidents. He is currently on administrative leave.
  • The driver is distraught, as are the girl’s family and friends. Strangers, too, have left flowers at the site of the accident.
  • When the police have completed their report, they will hand it off to the transit authority’s accident review board.
  • According to the transit authority, the driver has not completed “a particular training session.”

As we read the news coverage of the accident, we noted the particulars with sadness and compassion. A third-grader was killed on her way to school. Her family will never be the same. The bus driver will never be the same. The transit authority is dealing with the accident with admirable transparency, and the agency is supporting both the family of the victim and the driver with statements regarding current and future efforts to improve safety for passengers and the public — and, presumably, the drivers.

But what was that about the training?

We’ll continue this in our next post.


Providence Journal, “Police I.D. 9-year-old girl hit by RIPTA bus, release driver’s name,” Tracee M. Herbaugh, March 27, 2015

WNCN (Raleigh, NC), “Driver of RIPTA bus that hit girl hadn’t yet completed training session,” Tony Gugliotta, March 27, 2015