The parents of Aditi Avhad, an MU student who was killed in a bus accident in August, have filed a wrongful death suit against Megabus USA LLC and Coach USA as well as Preston Taylor, the driver of the bus.
According to Illinois State Police, almost five hours into their journey on Aug. 2 from Chicago to St. Louis, the bus carrying Avhad, her mother and 76 other passengers hit a bridge pillar just outside of Litchfield, Ill., killing Avhad and injuring 47 others, including Avhad's mother and the driver. The Illinois State Police cited a blown tire as a probable cause of the accident.
Avhad's family is currently being represented by Larry Rogers, Sr. of Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. Rogers didn't comment further on the lawsuit because the crash is still under investigation, but said the firm would be representing others who were injured.
Megabus also released a statement on the event.
"All of our staff at megabus.com are deeply saddened by the incident that took place in Litchfield and our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to those involved," Megabus President and COO Dale Moser said in a statement. "In that the incident is still under investigation by the authorities, we will continue to lend full cooperation to them."
John Woodroofe, an investigator with the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, said the crash could have been caused by multiple different factors.
"Blowouts can occur on a perfectly good tire if it strikes an object on the road," he said. "Many other factors can tie in as well, such as if (a tire is) not properly inflated."
Avhad, 25 at the time of death, was planning on attending MU for the fall semester and was scheduled to complete her degree in 2013. Over the summer she had been working with the Center for Health Care Quality on campus.
According to MU, Avhad had been awarded a scholarship to study at the university by the School of Medicine's Health Administration Department.
“She was a stellar student who made great contributions to the knowledge-building mission of the university,” Chancellor Brady Deaton said in a news release. “All of our hearts are a little heavier today as we grieve this loss. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her parents.”
The Cultural Association of India at MU held a memorial service for Avhad the day after the crash.
According to Rogers, there is no set timetable for the trial.
"Sometimes these cases can take 2-3 years to be resolved," he said in an email.