Families Sue over Double-Decker Party Bus Accident Fatalities

The families of two 22-year-old men killed in a tragic double-decker bus accident have filed a lawsuit against the bus driver and bus owners.

According to Chicago Breaking News, Justin Sleezer and Cameron Chana were partying on the top level of an open-air double-decker bus when their heads struck the Interstate Highway 57 overpass on Illinois Highway 16 in Mattoon, Ill. Several people were standing on the top level of the bus, but Chana and Sleezer were just a few inches taller than everyone else. Those few inches cost them their lives.

"It's just one of those things you would never think you would see," said Mattoon Police Chief David Griffith. "It was a horrible accident."

When the tragedy occurred, there were about 50 passengers on the bus. Most of the passengers were students at Eastern Illinois University. The bus was rented to return the students after a day of boating at Lake Shelbyville.

After the accident occurred, the bus driver took the victims to a nearby medical center. They were transported to another hospital and pronounced dead the next morning. No one else on the bus was injured.

Party organizers, including many members of the Sigma Pi fraternity, rented the double-decker bus from Lincoln Springs Resort in Charleston. After the accident, the chief of operations at Lincoln Springs said, “Our sympathies go out to the individuals’ families and friends.”

According to passengers on the bus, the driver never told the partygoers on the upper level to sit down, and many passengers were drinking beer.

“There was nothing ever said to us about any safety precautions,” said a friend of Sleezer who was on the bus.

Sleezer was 6’2” and Chana was 6’3”. Both of the students were facing backward and did not see the approaching low overpass.

“It happened so quickly. None of us saw the overpass coming,” said Sleezer’s friend Robert Stiles, also 22.

“He fell into my arms,” said Stiles, who was standing next to Sleezer at the time of the accident. Stiles stands at 5’7”.

“I’m thinking the other taller guys were sitting down,” Stiles said.

This is certainly a tragic and odd story. It illustrates that alcohol makes driving much more dangerous, even for passengers.

Most commercial bus accidents result in injuries to occupants of other vehicles. More than two-thirds of bus accident fatalities are people in other vehicles. Commercial buses (and especially double-decker buses) are extremely massive, and they can do a lot of damage to smaller vehicles.

Bus accident injury cases can be complicated because the responsibility for the accident may lie with several parties (such as the driver and the bus company). Sometimes the victim is partially at fault. That may be the case in the double-decker bus accident.

If you have been injured in a bus accident, contact an experienced Georgia bus wreck attorney as soon as possible. Contact MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.