Lawsuit filed in connection with deadly 2013 passenger van crush

The family of a man who was killed in a 2013 passenger van crash is suing officials who allowed the driver to drive with a valid license.

Family of deceased man says church should not have allowed driver behind the wheel

The family of a man who was killed in a passenger van accident in Illinois last year has launched a wrongful death lawsuit against a Baltimore church, according to WBAL-TV 11. The crash occurred during a trip organized by the church. While the crash has been attributed to the driver likely being too tired to operate the vehicle, the lawsuit also claims that church officials were negligent in allowing the driver to operate the van despite having a suspended license.

Crash occurred during cross-country trip

The crash occurred in May 2013 when the eleven-member church group was returning to Baltimore from an annual conference in Ontario, Calif. The van had been driving straight from California by the time it reached Vandalia, Illinois, which is more than a day's drive. A little before 10:00 a.m., the van drifted off the road. In order to correct for the drift, the driver then veered across the eastbound lanes of I-70, lost control of the vehicle, and went off the highway. The van flipped four times and ejected nine of the eleven passengers. Five of those passengers were killed at the scene, while six others were taken to hospital.

The driver admitted to police that he was tired prior to the accident, but he could not remember the specific details of what caused the crash, according to the Baltimore Sun. While the lawsuit does blame the driver for the crash, he is not actually named as a defendant.

Officials accused of negligence

Instead, the family of one of the deceased passengers is focusing its lawsuit on the actions of church officials. The driver had a suspended New Jersey driver's license and the lawsuit claims that church officials should never have let a man without a valid driver's license behind the wheel of a 15-passenger van that was going across the country.

The family is seeking $5 million in their wrongful death suit, which was filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Motor vehicle accidents

As this unfortunate case shows, many factors can contribute to a potentially catastrophic motor vehicle accident. While it has yet to be proven whether fatigue was a factor in this crash, in far too many cases, crashes occur because drivers are not as alert as they should be while on the road. Furthermore, third parties may also be held liable if they negligently endanger the safety of passengers and drivers.

Anybody who has been injured in a motor vehicle crash should get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Holding negligent parties accountable for their decisions is an important step in the recovery process for many accident victims. A qualified attorney will help victims not only hold those negligent parties accountable, but will also help victims receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Keywords: wrongful death, van crash, auto accident, personal injury