KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Family members of two of the victims in a deadly school bus crash have filed lawsuits. Plaintiffs are asking for $3 million in compensatory damages from each defendant.
Jeff Riddle, the husband of teacher’s aid Kimberly Riddle, and Sharon Glasper, the mother of Seraya Glasper, have filed lawsuits against the Knox County Board of Education, bus contractors and bus drivers. Kimberly Riddle, 46, and Seraya Glasper, 7, and Zykia Burns, 6, were killed when their bus crashed into another bus on Asheville Highway.
Continuing coverage: Knox County bus crash
A wrongful death suit on behalf of Seraya Glasper’s father and two suits on behalf of bus driver Joe Gallman and the parents of 6-year-old Sydney Wynn, both of whom were injured in the crash, were filed in April against James Davenport and bus contractor Rober Burroughs. Davenport died of natural causes in early June after evidence was released that showed he was texting just before he swerved into another bus. Davenport’s mother, Marjorie Davenport was substituted as his defendant.
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Attorney Greg Isaacs, who is representing the Riddle and Glasper families, said in a statement, “In addition to the issue of distracted driving, the investigation revealed some alarming issues regarding the lack of oversight and supervision of the private school bus contractors that are transporting Knox County school students on a daily basis.” The lawsuits allege that Knox County was negligent in supervising and monitoring bus operations and failed to insure bus drivers were eligible to operate buses.
The Defendant Knox Co. failed to train its agents and employees as to their duties of supervising the transport and/or transporting students on Knox County buses, and further failed to protect students from untrained, unqualified, and negligent bus drivers. (Section III, 31, k, Jeff Riddle v. Knox County)
In addition, the lawsuit also alleges that Knox County Schools did not adequately address prior complaints of misconduct and distracted driving against Davenport even though the school system knew or should have known his criminal background made him unfit to transport students. Court documents also allege Davenport was unfit to transports students because he was applying for disability. It also says Knox County implemented a policy to have an aide on Bus 44 to monitor Davenport, according to court documents, but no aide was present on Buss 44 on the day of the accident. .