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DECEMBER 1998
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Copyright 1998 James Kraemer. Click on this Copyright
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Click 
for a mini history about Flagstaff

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 $12.5 million.

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 insurance.

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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