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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Starline Tours Blamed for Teen’s Death

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A teenager hit his head on a freeway overpass and died from riding a Starline Tours of Hollywood double-decker bus that was taller than legal, his parents claim in court.

The late Mason Zisette died at 16 in July after a birthday party that included a trip on the sightseeing bus, his parents claim in their Jan. 20 complaint in Superior Court.

Mason and about three dozen others boarded the tour bus on July 10, 2014 as part of a Sweet 16 party for a friend. His parents say the bus traveled only "surface streets" for a few hours, then "suddenly entered the 405 freeway south at Sunset Boulevard in west Los Angeles."

The Zisettes say the bus was "in excess of 14 feet tall, [which] was in excess of legal limits," and that some of the 405 freeway overpasses are only 15 feet 1 inch tall.

They say there was "absolutely no adult supervision" on the upper deck, "no warning signs, no video cameras, nothing to indicate any potential danger."

They say that three kids on the upper deck, including Mason, were facing north as the bus traveled south at faster than 60 mph.

At 7:27 p.m., the parents say, "this recipe for disaster resulted in the back of Mason's head impacting the 15-foot-1-inch 405 South Arbor Vitae overpass in Inglewood near LAX."

Mason died two days later, after being kept alive long enough for him to donate most of his vital organs.

His parents seek damages for negligence, failure to want, breach of warranty and strict liability.

They are represented by Victor George, of Torrance.

Here are the defendants: Starline Tours of Hollywood, Inc.; Starline Tours USA, Inc.; Starline Sightseeing Tours, Inc.; The Gray Line Tours Company; Movieland Charters & Tours, Inc.; Screamline Investment Corporation; Tour Coach, Inc.; Kamrouz Farhadi; Hoda Sapir; Shoeloeh Sapir; Vahid Sapir; New Flyer Industries Canada ULC; and Jose Barajas Curiel.

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