Texting while driving causes more than 1.3 million car crashes each year. An alarming 23% of all 2011 auto accidents involved cell phones. For some reason, people don’t seem to understand the risks involved in texting while driving. Even a quick text message, such as typing “okay,” or “almost there,” takes about fives seconds to write and send. Five seconds might not seem like much, but at 55 mph, five seconds will get your vehicle across the length of a football field. That is an incredibly long distance to drive without your eyes on the road.
James Davenport, age 48, caused a deadly two-bus crash when he decided to text while driving a school bus full of school children. The bus accident occurred on December 2, 2014, just after a school day had finished. According to WBIR News, Davenport was driving a bus for Chilhowee Intermediate School children in Knox County, Texas when he made a sharp turn onto the Asheville Highway. His bus crossed over a concrete median and collided with a second school bus. That school bus had been carrying students from the Sunnyside Primary School, also in Knox County, Texas. Davenport’s school bus was overturned in the collision.
Several students and adults were rushed to the hospital for emergency medical treatment. Two children and a teacher’s aide were killed in the crash, including 6-year-old Zykia Burns, 7-year-old Seraya Glasper, and 46-year-old Kimberly Riddle. According to police, Davenport had been sending a text message at the time of the deadly crash. Victims and their families filed three separate lawsuits against Davenport. The families also named the owner of the school bus, Robert Burroughs, in the lawsuit. The lawsuits seek $1.5 million, $3 million, and $1.75 million, respectively. All three lawsuits are requesting a trial by jury.
Meanwhile, Davenport died on June 1. According to police, he died of natural causes unrelated to the bus accident and impending lawsuit. The lawyer for two of the families, Greg Isaacs, says the case will continue against the owner of the school bus.