Fla. county sued after crash between ambulance, school bus
The bus was stopped and the ambulance was transporting a patient when the crash occurred in 2019; one lawyer said his client, who was on the bus, suffered permanent injury
Austin L. Miller
Ocala Star-Banner, Fla.
MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Marion County government is facing a lawsuit after a 2019 vehicle crash that involved an ambulance and a school bus.
According to Gregory Jackson, an attorney at Dan Newlin & Partners in Orlando, his client was on a school bus that was stopped at Southeast Magnolia Avenue and East Fort King Street. The bus was rear-ended by an ambulance, the lawsuit states.
In another section of the lawsuit, signed by Dan Newlin & Partners lawyer Ryan Gilbert, it's alleged that the ambulance door flew open and hit the window where their client was sitting on the bus. The client was sitting in the second-to-last seat.
This happened on May 21, 2019. The suit, filed in Circuit Court in Ocala, seeks more than $30,000 in damages.
Jackson said his client has "suffered or incurred injuries" that include "significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function and/or permanent and significant scarring, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability other than scarring or disfigurement and pain, suffering, disability, physical impairment, inconvenience, and a loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life."
County officials on Wednesday said they had not yet been served with the lawsuit, and therefore could not comment.
According to an Ocala Police Department report, the school bus was southbound in the inside lane of South Magnolia Avenue and approaching East Fort King Street.
The ambulance also was traveling southbound in the outside lane of South Magnolia Avenue toward East Fort King Street, with its emergency lights activated.
The police reports states the school bus stopped and the driver signaled that passengers were leaving the bus.
Noticing the ambulance with its lights on coming from behind the bus, the bus driver turned off the signals that tell drivers that someone is leaving the bus. The bus driver then told the passengers to wait.
The ambulance tried to pass the bus, but in the process struck the left rear side of the large vehicle. The school bus stayed on scene. The ambulance continued to the hospital with its patient and later returned to the crash site.
With the damage being less than $500, no citations were issued, the report notes. But since both vehicles are government-owned, a report was issued.
Police officials point to a state statute stating they typically don't investigate crashes where the damage is less than $500 and there are no reported injuries. In this case, no injuries were reported.
Local court records do not show any tickets issued to either the school bus or ambulance drivers.
(c)2020 the Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, Fla.)