School bus fender bender leads to lawsuit

By David Yates | May 9, 2007

A fender-bender involving a Beaumont Independent School District bus has one boy's mother up in arms and ready to take on the school district.

Letresa Shaw, individually, and as next friend of Edward Berry is suing BISD, Alice Nobles Williams (the bus driver) and Inetha Foster (the other motorist).

According to Shaw's petition, filed with the Jefferson County District Court May 7, the boy was a passenger aboard the bus operated by Williams when "it collided with another vehicle operated by" Foster on May 9, 2005.

The suit says the boy injured his head and neck. "Berry has suffered severe physical and mental pain, suffering anguish, and physical impairment, and in all reasonable probability, plaintiff will continue to suffer in this manner for a long time into the future, if not for the balance of his natural life, for all of which plaintiffs now sue."

A police report attached to the suit says Foster was east bound on Gill Street near the intersection of Youngtown at the time of the incident. The bus was traveling west bound preparing to turn left on to Youngstown.

"Because the street is narrow, (Foster) pulled to the side to allow room for (the bus) to pass," the police report said. "(The bus) made the turn before (Foster) was able to move."

The report says Williams failed to yield row while turning left and was not paying attention.

The lawsuit faults Williams and Foster with much more, including failing to properly provide safety for passengers, control speed, apply brakes, honk the horn and yield the right away.

"Williams was incompetent and unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle," the suit said. "BISD should have known Williams was an incompetent and unfit driver."

The plaintiffs allege negligence on BISD's part under the doctrine of respondeat superior, Latin for "let the master answer."

The plaintiffs are represented by the Beaumont law firm Sutton & Jacobs.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. E179-268

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