Among the Victims Were Drivers of Tour Bus and UPS Tractor-Trailer
Last Updated: 7/13/2020
The deadly accident involving a tour bus, a UPS truck, a FedEx truck, and a passenger vehicle took place just after 3:30AM on Sunday, December 5th near Mount Pleasant on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The crash caused traffic in both direction to close for about 12 hours while the debris was cleaned up.
The Z & D Tours tour bus was traveling westward when it careened up an embankment and flipped over, landing on its side. The FedEx and UPS tractor-trailers would soon after crash into the bus, as did another passenger vehicle believed to be a Mercedes Benz. As of this report, a total of five victims have been identified:
- Eileen Zelis Aria, a 35-year-old from the Bronx; bus passenger
- Jaremy Vazquez, a 9-year-old from Brooklyn; bus passenger
- Shuang Qing Feng, a 58-year-old from Flushing; bus driver
- Daniel Kepner, a 53-year-old; UPS driver
- Dennis Kehler, a 48-year-old; UPS driver
More than five dozen other individuals were also injured in the pile-up, though only two remain in critical condition at this time. The large number of affected persons were transported by the responding emergency crews to various area hospitals:
- 31 patients aged 7-52 were taken to Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant
- 18 patients consisting of 6 children and 12 adults were taken to UPMC Emergency Hospital in Somerset
- 11 patients aged 15-67 were taken to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville
Local authorities, as well as the National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB), are conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident. It is unlikely that the cause of the fatal accident will be provided within a short time given the magnitude of factors involved and the numerous injuries.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent has offered his thoughts on the legal rights of bus accident victims
who have sustained a serious injury:
“Bus accidents can be particularly devastating because passengers are not required to wear seat-belts or other safety devices. When a crash occurs, not only do suitcases and other objects become projectiles, but actual passengers do as well. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries are very common, as are injuries to internal organs.
Those who have been hurt in a bus accident typically have the right to take legal action in the form of a civil lawsuit. Although it may take some time to settle this type of legal action, victims and their loved ones can receive financial compensation that takes into account the following, among other resulting damages:
- Past medical bills
- Expected future medical treatments/expenses
- Lost income
- Physical pain
- Emotional shock and trauma
It’s important for bus accident victims to consult with an attorney immediately. If an insurance company asks them to sign any paperwork, they should also ensure that their legal representative reviews them prior to it being signed. Indeed, insurance companies will often attempt to have victims to sign away their rights to pursue their deserved compensation.
In addition to bus accident lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits can also be filed by the loved ones of someone who passed away due to the crash. These lawsuits can help a grieving family stay financially afloat while providing a sense that justice has been served. ”