Private firm to investigate I-565 bus crash - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Private firm to investigate I-565 bus crash

The attorney for 18 victims of the November 20th bus crash that killed 4 Lee High School students and injured dozens more, is bringing in a private accident reconstruction team to Huntsville.

Local, state and national investigators are also currently investigating the crash.

The private firm will map the crash site, interview survivors and compile information already prepared by the legal team.

Within the coming weeks, researchers out of Colorado will analyze every bit of information this case has to offer, all in preparation for a lawsuit.

"I want to have the very best backing me up and I will, before I file any kind of a lawsuit in this case," explains attorney Mark McDaniel.

That's why, McDaniel says, he's hired Ponderosa Associates Limited to reconstruct the scene of this accident that injured 18 of his clients both physically and psychologically.

"I can't describe it. I would be arrogant to try to describe it, what they've gone through. So we owe them the best that we can possibly do for them," says McDaniel.

Police say a 1990 Toyota Cellica driven by a 17-year-old Lee student collided with the bus before the bus went over a retaining wall.

The bus driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown onto the road before the bus went airborne.

Several questions remain: Who is at fault, and could this tragedy have been prevented?

McDaniel says that's what Ponderosa Associates will determine.

"As to the defendants in this case, I won't mention any names, but they know who they are," adds McDaniel.

And the plaintiffs? Though millions of dollars in damages are expected, McDaniel says their case means more than that.

"They want to see a change," he says, "Maybe something will come out of it where there's some kind of change where things are done for students riding buses and maybe it'll affect the entire nation, what we do right here in Huntsville, Alabama."

Part of the upcoming investigation will mean closing part of the interstate, as was the case when the NTSB conducted their investigation.

As soon as a date is announced we'll pass it along.

McDaniel says they'll pay for any traffic control provided by Huntsville Police during that time.

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