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Wrongful deaths from bus crash called homicide

The April bus crash in Texas that caused the wrongful deaths of three women has been turned over to the Dallas County District Attorney's office by the Texas Department of Public Safety with the recommendation that the driver be charged with criminally negligent homicide.

The accident happened on State Highway 161 in Irving as the bus was on its way to a casino. 40 people were injured in the crash and two died at the scene. Another died at the hospital.

The 65-year-old driver was also injured in the accident and spent time in intensive care. It was his second such incident, as he was also charged with criminally negligent homicide in 1998 when, while driving a tour bus, he struck and killed a person helping at the scene of an accident. In that case, a grand jury declined to indict the driver.

The current case will also be left to the decision of a grand jury, which can either decide to pursue the charge or not, based on the evidence that has been collected during the accident investigation. That evidence includes a reconstruction of the crash, an inspection of the bus, and also an inspection of the company that the man worked for.

In cases where injuries or death have been caused by the negligence of a commercial driver, criminal cases may not be the only course of action. Personal injury or wrongful death claims can be filed in civil court against the company that the driver worked for. These claims might seek to compensate victims for medical expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering. Wrongful death claims can also help the family members of deceased victims to pay for funeral costs and other expenses related to the loss of a loved one.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Texas DPS turns over Irving bus crash case to Dallas County DA, recommends criminally negligent homicide charges," Robert Wilonsky, July 2, 2013

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