Charlotte Boyse, 17, a senior at Corona del Mar High School, was injured after she fell out of a prom-bound party bus the night of June 6, 2014.
According to a news report in The Orange County Register, state regulators had ordered the party bus operator to stop its unlicensed operations in April, about six weeks before this incident.
In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission’s enforcement division had denied
the private bus company’s license in February 2013, making its continued operations illegal.
Teen Escapes Potentially Catastrophic Injury
Officials say Boyse was standing on one of the bus’s inward-facing bench seats when she tumbled out of the window and onto the 73 toll road in the southbound lanes near the Newport Coast Drive exit.
Investigators now say that the window’s hinges were working properly, but were not latched when the teenager leaned against the window. There were about 59 teenagers on the bus. Officials also said the driver or the students did not show signs of intoxication.
Boyse suffered serious cuts, bruises and road rash. As Boyse fell out, another girl grabbed her, which caused Boyse to fall on her back rather than on her head, her father said.
She was able to stand up and get to the median on the freeway where she waited for about 10 minutes before a couple driving by noticed her and called 911. The driver of the bus apparently did not stop because she did not believe the students that someone fell out.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Charlotte Boyse and the other young people who were absolutely traumatized on their prom night.
It is indeed fortunate that another girl grabbed Boyse briefly, breaking her fall and possibly saving her life. We wish Boyse the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Bus Company’s Liability
Based on this news report, it appears that the bus company in this case was operating illegally, without a license. The bus operator put the vehicle on the road despite being told not to by the authorities.
It also appears that the company is under investigation by the Orange County district attorney and could potentially face criminal charges.
In addition, negligent bus companies could also be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages suffered by passengers, especially in the incidence of a bus accident.
All bus companies – whether they are public or private carriers – owe their passengers the utmost duty of care.
This means that they are responsible for the safe transit of all passengers. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation to cover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Victims or their families would be well advised to contact an experienced Newport Beach personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.