The Mobile County Public School System has nothing to do with the lawsuit. Instead, the bus manufacturer has to pay up.
Kimberleigh Welch was killed on October 10, 2019, after a car crashed into her, causing the bus she was driving to roll off the interstate. She was trapped inside.
“The bus was only going 12 miles an hour when it rolled over. The roof collapsed; we knew there had to be something wrong with it,” said Greg Allen, with Beasley Allen Law Firm.
Some answers finally for Kimberleigh Welch’s family. “Now I at least understand the truth. That was always my main focus and that was the primary driving factor from day one, is I didn’t understand why,” said David Welch, Kimberleigh’s husband. “At least now I’m able to have some sort of closure because I’m able to understand the chain of events that took place.”
It’s been two and a half years since the crash along the southbound I-65 ramp near Prichard. Welch remembers the day, and the drive to the hospital, thinking his wife would be okay.
“From there it was very shocking, emotional upset. No clue what’s going on and how do you go on the next day,” said Welch.
Kimberleigh was hit by another car, causing her bus to roll, which caused a bigger problem.
“It only rolled one-half roll. The defect is in the support structure for the roof. Each one of these between the windows has a support structure, it’s weak,” said Allen. “They make it worse by drilling holes to attach the side panel of the bus. So they take a weak roof and make it worse by this process of drilling holes.”
The roof collapsed onto Kimberleigh. “She was squeezed by the weight of the bus, she simply couldn’t breathe,” said Allen.
Lawyers representing Welch’s family said there was a similar crash in Indiana. The bus driver of that crash survived but was trapped by the roof collapse.
“One of the most important things that comes out of something like this is it gets the attention of a company like IC Bus Navistar. Perhaps they’re going to change things for the future of children who ride these buses,” said David Greene, with Greene and Phillips Law Firm.
They now plan on notifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to tell them about the defects.
“There is a serious problem and we have a resolution for this situation. Going forward, we can continue to fight to hopefully make a change so this won’t happen to anyone else,” said Welch.
No kids were on the bus at the time of the crash. The amount of the settlement is confidential.