Larchwood, Iowa — Another defendant has been added to the lawsuit in which the family of a Larchwood man is suing a bus company, saying they are liable for his death in an accident in South Dakota last year. But the third-party defendant has been named by the bus company.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol reported that a charter bus carrying 56 passengers was eastbound on Interstate 90 in the dark, on Thursday, December 21st, 2017, when the bus lost all power. The bus came to a stop in the middle of both lanes. No lights were operating on the bus. An eastbound 2013 Ford E-250 van rear-ended the bus. The Patrol says that 31-year-old Cade Stensland was the van driver and was pronounced dead at the scene. No one on the bus was injured.
The federal suit, filed in the US District Court for South Dakota says the Stenslands are suing Cavallo Bus Lines of Gillespie, Illinois, the owner and operator of the bus, for $10 million.
This past week, Cavallo filed a third-party complaint against Motor Coach Industries International, or “MCI,” the manufacturer of the bus involved in the accident as part of the same case.
Cavallo alleges, among other things, that a “master power switch” on the bus’s control panel was at fault. They believe that the switch was unintentionally flipped by the bus driver, which caused the bus to lose all power, including the engine and exterior lighting, which caused the bus to stop in the middle of the two eastbound lanes of I-90. Cavallo says the design of the switch allows for easy, unintentional activation. Plus, they allege that the switch was identical to, and placed in close proximity to other switches that they say MCI should have known would have to be used by the driver during ordinary over-the-road operation of the bus.
In the complaint, Cavallo says that if they should be found liable for Stensland’s injuries and death, such liability would arise from the acts or omissions of the manufacturer, MCI.
Online reports indicate Cavallo has ceased operations as of August.