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Disabled passenger dies when O'Fallon bus driver loses control

A 54-year-old disabled man died when the bus in which he was riding struck a tree. A reconstruction team from the Illinois State Police will review how the O'Fallon bus accident occurred. Preliminary police reports indicate there was at least one medical emergency at the time of the fatal crash.

St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprises, the bus owners, is a transportation company that shuttles developmentally-disabled adults back and forth from workplaces. The suburban bus accident happened when four adults were aboard including two disabled adult passengers.

O'Fallon police stated that it appeared the bus driver and the Belleville passenger were each "suffering from some medical condition." What's unclear is whether the disabled man died of accident injuries or some other health issue, directly or indirectly related to the accident.

Reports say the bus driver did experience a medical problem before losing control of the SAVE bus. Officials did not elaborate on the nature of the medical episode or provide an update of the hospitalized driver's condition.

The bus monitor was slightly injured. The surviving, disabled passenger suffered no apparent physical harm.

State police may be able to determine if the bus was mechanically sound and how out of control the vehicle was at the time of the crash. It may not be in the investigators' capacity to follow the medical trail that led up to the accident. A different authority may be needed to sort out the driver and passengers' health issues.

A wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit may result, civil actions that are not dependent on criminal blame. The defendants named in a personal injury suit could include the bus driver or SAVE, the driver's employer, either of whom might be found negligent.

The bus driver seems to have suffered an incapacitating medical episode. The medical event could have been unexpected or preventable, as in the case of a patient who failed to follow a doctor's recommended treatment for a known condition.

Source: ksdk.com, "O'Fallon bus accident claims life of man with disability," Dave Keiser, Oct. 19, 2012

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