$11 Million Verdict for Fatal Casino Bus Crash

     DALLAS (CN) – Families of two elderly women who died when a casino charter bus crashed on a Dallas-area toll road were awarded $10.9 million in damages from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma on Monday.
     A Dallas County jury deliberated for four days before ruling for the estates of Alice Stanley, 83, and Paula Hahn, 69. Both were killed in April 2013 when their Durant, Okla. -bound bus crashed on the President George Bush Turnpike in Irving. Three people died and several more were injured.
     Stanley’s family was awarded $4.9 million and Hahn’s $6 million.
     Stanley’s family accused the bus operator of “failing to maintain proper control” of the bus, allowing it “to crash violently into a concrete barrier and flip over on its side.”
     Stanley’s attorney, Frank Branson in Dallas, said the Choctaw Nation cannot “simply farm out its passengers and other key bus operations without consideration for the safety” of those aboard.
     “This jury spoke loud and clear, and hopefully this verdict forces the Choctaw Nation to take the safety of North Texas residents seriously,” Branson said in a statement. “They are the most precious cargo that the Choctaw Casino carries every single day.”
     Casino gambling is illegal in Texas, so many casino operators in Louisiana and Oklahoma provide charter buses to draw customers from Dallas and Fort Worth.
     Branson said Stanley was hospitalized for 10 days before dying from her injuries, including a “traumatically amputated arm and numerous broken bones” from when she was ejected from the bus.
     He said the Choctaw Nation offered to settle for $50,000 before trial.
     Branson said the tribe “aggressively contested” its responsibility, saying passenger safety was the duty of Cardinal Coach Lines and its driver.
     “To reach their verdict, jurors made a key finding that the Choctaw Nation retained the right to control the charter bus and its driver and thus bore responsibility for the safety of the casino’s passengers on the charter bus,” Branson said.
     The Choctaw said they plan to appeal the verdict.
     “While we respect the court system, we feel there were errors and plan to appeal,” the tribe said in a statement Monday evening.
     Hahn was represented by Spencer Browne with Reyes Browne Reilley in Dallas.

%d bloggers like this: