Parents seek settlement in Farmington bus crash

Joshua Kellogg
A Farmington Municipal School District bus rests on its side after a May 4, 2015, crash on Indian Route 13 near Red Valley, Ariz.

FARMINGTON –The parents of two students injured last year when a Farmington Municipal School District bus crashed near Red Valley, Ariz. are seeking a cash settlement from the school district.

According to paperwork filed in the Eleventh Judicial District Court, Adela Bob and Andrew Ashley are requesting that the court appoint attorney Richard J. Parmley Jr. as guardian ad litem to evaluate and report to the court regarding a possible settlement.

The petition was filed by attorney Victor Titus, partner at the Titus and Murphy Law Firm, and lists the district and the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority as defendants in the petition.

Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he was not aware of the court filing and declined further comment due to pending ligation.

A Farmington school bus transporting 44 Bluffview Elementary School students and two staff members on May 4, 2015, rolled over on Indian Route 13 near Red Valley, Ariz. The students were returning from a day trip to Canyon de Chelly National Monument near Chinle, Ariz.

Another bus with students and staff members from Apache Elementary School accompanied the Bluffview bus on the field trip.

Titus declined to specify the amount of the proposed settlement but said he thought it was fair.

The court filing detailed the injuries of both students. One student suffered a concussion, broken nose, abrasions and swollen, cut lips. The filing states the student underwent surgery to repair the broken nose. The second student suffered abrasions and broken glasses.

A guardian ad litem is required in any settlement involving a minor because minors are not legally capable of entering into a contract on their own, Parmley said.

Once approved as guardian ad litem, Parmley said he will review the proposed settlement and make recommendations to the court about the appropriateness of the settlement as a neutral third party.

Titus said he hopes the court approves Parmley this week and that the settlement can be finalized by the end of the month.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.