Flagstaff Unified School District's troubles escalate
Compliled and edited from AOL News, P.A.S.S., The Arizona
Republic, School bus Fleet and the Associated Press)
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA (update)
The Flagstaff Unified School District
claims it can not afford to pay a nearly 30-Million-dollar settlement ordered for a 1996
accident. In October (98) the District had agreed to an out-of-court settlement to pay a total of
$28 million to two high school students permanently injured in a 1996 school bus crash.
Jonathan Dowding, 17, received $13.5 million after suffering a head injury that requires
long-term care, while B.J. Carlson, who was left a quadriplegic after the accident, received
In addition, the Arizona Department of Transportation agreed to pay $1 million per student.
But the state Loan Commission refuses to issue state bonds to pay the students' families. The
first ten-Million dollars will reportedly be covered by the Department of Transportation and
In all, 31 students were injured. Five of the students, including Dowding, were ejected from the
1986 International bus. Carlson was not ejected but sustained a severe cervical spine injury.
The accident occurred on Aug. 14, 1996, on Interstate 17 just south of Flagstaff about
7:30 a.m. when the driver, 67-year-old Pauline Landry, became momentarily distracted by
an empty pop can. Landry inadvertently drove onto the shoulder of Interstate 17 while
trying to retrieve the empty can, overcorrected, sending the bus into the
median and causing it to roll over.
Your comments about this story, Keyword: Flagstaff.
Safe Schools Note: Injuries on school buses have escalated over the past decade,
from under 7, 000 per year in 1985 to over 13,000 injuries reported in 1996, by the National Safety Council.
Driver distraction (in this case alledged by students to be the driver attempting to
retrieve an empty pop can), is attributed to over 30 percent of the nation's school
bus accidents. (Facts, Figures & Quotes)
To access some of this school year's bus accidents Click Here.
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