Tragedy struck outside of Missoula Sunday Morning when a Rimrock Stages bus carrying 35 people, flipped on its side and slid more than 150 feet, causing 2 deaths and injuring 33 people.
The bus was traveling West on I-90 at 7:15 a.m. when the driver lost control of the bus just west of the Clinton exit and the bus crashed on I-90 outside of Missoula.
Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Hoffman said it was the largest mass injury accident he had ever seen. Everyone on the bus was either injured or killed.
“In 16 years I haven’t seen anything like this,” Hoffman said. “So many people laying on the ground with injuries, writhing in pain. It was a terrible scene.”
Several passengers were ejected after the bus tipped on the drivers side and slid for more than 150 feet in the median.
“When it went on its side, because of the speed involved, it had a bouncing motion,” Hoffman said. “And as it did people were ejected through those windows.”
Local authorities are investigating whether or not the driver was traveling at a reasonable and prudent speed given the condition of the road at the time.
“The law states you must drive to the conditions, and that’s where our investigation is going on this,” said Hoffman. “We have no other indications of another vehicle being involved. We think he was simply going too fast for the road conditions. We had one passenger state already that they felt the bus driver was going too fast right before the crash.
“We’re pretty sure what happened is the conditions rapidly changed and went from wet to icy.”
Montana law specifically states, “(3) Subject to the maximum speed limits set forth in subsection (1), a person shall operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a reduced rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, visibility, weather, and roadway conditions.”
In addition, in Montana, every driver is required to operate a motor vehicle including a bus, “in a careful and prudent manner that does not unduly or unreasonably endanger the life, limb, property, or other rights of a person entitled to the use of the highway. “
ANDERSON & BLIVEN is a Montana law firm dedicated to helping injured individuals and families recover from losses likes the Clinton bus crash. We do not represent insurance companies, like other firms. Never have, never will.
Our firm has the legal experience and knowledge you need on your side. Our Montana attorneys sincerely care about helping innocent victims and their families make a complete recovery: emotionally; physically and temporally. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS and will meet with you at our office, over the phone or wherever is convenient for you.