Experts in town to reconstruction I-565 bus tragedy

Experts in town to reconstruction I-565 bus tragedy

Accident reconstruction experts spent Sunday afternoon surveying the scene of the I-565 bus crash.

November 20th, a bus carrying students from Lee High School to the Tech Center collided with an Orange Celica, driven by another Lee student.

The bus plunged more than 30 feet from the interstate.

Four students died and dozens more were injured.

Sunday afternoon Exit 19-B was closed for two hours while crews collected evidence.

These experts were hired by attorneys representing families of the victims.

They worked from top to bottom trying gauge what happened the morning of November 20th.

Cameras, measuring tape, 3-D devices.

Attorney John Taylor is representing Christine Collier's family.

The 16-year-old sophomore lost her life in the crash.

"We have investigators and some of them you'll see out here working," explains Taylor.

Working along the 19-B ramp headed west on I-565.

Attorney Doug Fees is representing four victims' families.

He tells us what kind of workers were present, "Accident reconstruction experts, safety engineers, crash worthiness experts. Along with attorneys representing several of the victims' families."

Attorney Mark McDaniel is representing 19 families.

He turned to Ponderosa Associates for their expertise.

McDaniel says, "We have our experts here to do this evaluation.  We met with them all morning.  They're from Colorado setting up to do measurements."

Taylor says evaluating the site in person gives you an advantage, "It's much better when you're up here and you can see curvature of the road, the bank of the road, and just try and get an understanding of what was happening to the driver of the two vehicles prior to the tragedy that happened that day."

That meant hiring civil engineers, developing a traffic control plan, and of course getting the Alabama Department of Transportation's permission to shut down that portion of the interstate for two hours.

"We always ask ourselves how could due care on the part of some or more entities prevented this crash," says Fees.

He continues to say that preliminary findings indicate it could have been prevented.

"The people out here are some of the best in the nation and the magnitude of the tragedy calls for the absolute the best and that's what we're doing," says McDaniel.

"There's all these families involved and I think their interest in what's paramount to all of us making sure that number one, they're represented, and number two to see if we can avoid another tragedy like this happening again," adds Taylor.

Monday they'll inspect the school bus and the Celica.

We'll let you know the findings as soon as they become available.