Lawsuit filed in collision that flipped an APS school bus - Albuquerque Journal

Lawsuit filed in collision that flipped an APS school bus

A car crashed into a school bus, injuring several students on Feb. 23. Parents of some of the children have filed a lawsuit against the car’s driver, their insurance company and Albuquerque Public Schools. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The parents of three children injured when a Ford Mustang crashed into their school bus in February are suing Albuquerque Public Schools, the driver of the car and his insurance company.

The force of the collision at Messina and Gibson SW caused the school bus to flip on its side and sent five people to the hospital, including several middle school students.

Two students, ages 13 and 14, had serious injuries, including a broken pelvis and a broken femur that required surgery.

The 2nd Judicial District Court lawsuit was filed on behalf of parents of two girls and a boy – identified only by their initials – who were passengers riding the school bus.

Attorneys representing the families declined to comment Wednesday.

Police allege that Mario Perez, 50, was racing Feb. 23 at high speed with another car at the time. The two cars were driving west on Gibson SW when the Mustang collided with the bus traveling north on Messina SW.

A witness told police the cars appeared to be traveling at 110 mph in a 40 mph zone, according to a Metro Court criminal complaint.

The suit identifies APS, Perez, and his insurance company, Geico, as defendants.

Perez was charged May 23 with 17 counts of child abuse, recklessly caused, in connection with the crash, court records show.

Perez pleaded not guilty to the charges on June 6. The same day, a district court judge released Perez from jail but prohibited him from operating a motor vehicle as a condition of his release. No trial date has been scheduled.

Perez’s attorney in the criminal case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit alleges “Perez’s action were malicious, willful, reckless” and caused injuries “warranting punitive damages.”

It also alleges that “APS breached its duties of care by failing to exercise reasonable care while operating its vehicle.”

The driver of the school bus, who was among those hospitalized after the crash, is not identified as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The bus driver has not been cited or charged in connection with the crash.

The lawsuit alleges the bus driver “failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to yield to passing traffic resulting in the collision.”

The bus driver failed “to give his full time and entire attention to the vehicle,” and operated the bus “carelessly and heedlessly,” the suit alleges. The suit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses and “future physical and emotional pain and suffering.”

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