Lawsuit filed in death of woman hit, killed by TVUSD school bus

Source: Tucson News Now
Source: Tucson News Now
Updated: Apr. 9, 2018 at 8:06 PM MST
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The father of the woman hit and killed by a Tanque Verde school bus has filed a lawsuit against the district and the driver.

Lynn Ebersbacher, the father of 43-year-old Kimberly Ebersbacher, filed the gross negligence and wrongful death lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court nearly six months after Kimberly was killed.

The complaint, which lists the Tanque Verde Unified School District, the state of Arizona, and the bus driver among the defendants, alleges they failed to take action to repair the bus and failed to remove the driver from his role due to his medical condition.

Kimberly Ebersbacher was killed Sept. 27, 2017, near Speedway Boulevard. and Kolb Road. while she was in her electric wheelchair on the sidewalk. The TVUSD school bus veered onto the sidewalk when the driver lost consciousness and hit her.

"Kim's leg was dismembered, and she was crushed, dragged, and pulverized, prior to her taking her final breath at the scene of the (motor vehicle accident)," the lawsuit states.

The complaint explains that Lynn Ebersbacher suffered from the loss of his daughter, as well as a "substantial loss of enjoyment of his life" due to his daughter's death.

The lawsuit alleged that the driver, the state of Arizona, and the district, were required to take reasonable steps to make certain the driver was physically fit to drive, including reporting known medical conditions and treatments, to get clearance from a medical treatment source, and to conduct physical performance tests.

Tucson Police Department investigations revealed the driver knew he had a medical condition for which he was in treatment, the lawsuit claims.

On the day of the crash, the driver lost consciousness. The lawsuit alleges it happened because of his exposure to heat or exhaust fumes, "which would not have occurred but for the gross negligence of each Defendant in their careless acts and omissions... to assure the Driver was physically fit to drive," and to, "make certain the bus was properly maintained."

The claim states that the bus should have been ruled inoperable. It alleges that the inspection and repair records reveal evidence of minor and major defects, including defects of its exhaust leak and an inoperative air conditioning, "of which TVUSD's employees and agents were aware of for several months prior to the (crash) but failed to adequately repair or pull the bus from service."

When asked to speak about the lawsuit and the allegations of defects with the bus, TVUSD Community Liaison Claire Place said, "On the advice of legal counsel, the district is unable to comment on matters that are under litigation."

We reached out to the driver to talk about the incident and the pending litigation but were told he was advised to not speak about the crash.

The attorney for Lynn Ebersbacher, Joane Hallinan, said they filed a notice of claim seeking $450,000 in damages and were seeking a private settlement but TVUSD and the state of Arizona failed to settle the claims.

Ebersbacher is seeking a jury trial and compensation for actual monetary damages from Kimberly's funeral and related expenses, as well as compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.

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