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Legal Expert Says Only Certainty After Fatal School Bus Crash Is Lawsuits

FILE PHOTO: A school bus is lodged between a utility pole and a traffic light standard after colliding with a dump truck. (Credit: Paul Kurtz)

FILE PHOTO: A school bus is lodged between a utility pole and a traffic light standard after colliding with a dump truck. (Credit: Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

CHESTERFIELD, N.J. (CBS) – As a Burlington County, NJ community mourns, investigators continue working to find the cause of yesterday’s fatal accident between a school bus and a dump truck (see related stories).

It could take weeks before police determine who was to blame.  All indications are that the driver of the dump truck, 38-year-old Michael Caporale, had the right of way as indicated by a blinking amber light.

But that doesn’t necessarily put him in the clear.

“If I were the lawyer suing people here, I’d sue them both,” says Scott Bennett, a Philadelphia attorney who specializes in traffic law.  “If you’ve got an amber light, that means proceed with caution.  You’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to slow down, you’ve got to look around.

“(And) if you’ve got a red light, that means you’ve got to stop.  The one that was supposed to stop should not have been in an accident.  He should have come to a stop, and the intersection had to have been clear for him to proceed,” Bennett adds.

Regardless of the accident investigation, Bennett is certain that a flurry of civil suits will come out of this case, and possibly criminal charges.

A lot may depend on the outcome of toxicology tests given to both drivers, but attorney Bennett says even if they’re negative it’s still possible that county prosecutors will file charges because they feel it was a senseless accident and think that neither driver was paying attention.

 

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