New lawsuit filed over 2015 Farmington bus crash
The complaint seeks an unspecified amount for general and special compensatory damages
FARMINGTON – A second lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two Farmington students who allegedly were injured when a school bus crashed near Red Valley, Ariz., two years ago.
Parents Goldie Escojeda and Manuel Caro filed a lawsuit against the Farmington Municipal School District, former district employee Charles Barr and the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority on May 3 in the Eleventh Judicial District Court, according to court records.
The complaint seeks an unspecified amount for general and special compensatory damages along with any other relief the court deems appropriate.
Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he has not read the court filing and declined further comment due to pending ligation.
Schmidt said he believes Barr is no longer employed by the district and declined further comment, stating it is a personnel matter.
Barr is listed as the driver of the school bus in the lawsuit. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.
Richard J. Parmley Jr., the plaintiffs' attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.
A school bus transporting 44 Bluffview Elementary School students and two staff members rolled over on May 4, 2015, on Indian Route 13 near Red Valley, Ariz. The bus was traveling back to Farmington following a trip to Canyon de Chelly National Monument near Chinle, Ariz.
The two female students mentioned in the lawsuit were 11 and 12 years old at the time of the wreck. They suffered injuries when the bus driver Barr failed to maintain control and the bus rolled, according to court documents.
The 12-year-old student allegedly suffered a broken collar bone, cuts and abrasions, according to court documents.
Alleged injuries for the 11-year-old student included head injuries, blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, cuts and abrasions, according to court documents.
Parmley was appointed as guardian ad litem for two other students in another lawsuit filed against the district and the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority about the bus wreck. A guardian ad litem is required in any settlements involving a minor because the child is not legally capable of entering into a contract on his or her own.
The students in that case, which was filed on March 3, 2016, were awarded $27,000 as part of a settlement.
Parmley reviewed the proposed settlement and made recommendations to the court in a May 4, 2016, court filing.
On the same day, the settlement was approved during a hearing in Aztec district court, according to court records and documents.
A female student who was 10 years old at the time of the wreck was awarded a net settlement of $25,000 before attorneys' fees and medical expenses were deducted, according to court documents. She suffered a broken nose, concussion, swollen and cut lips, and abrasions.
According to Parmley's report, a CT scan showed the student suffered front scalp soft tissue swelling and hematoma.
A male student who was 11 at the time of the wreck was awarded a net settlement of $2,000, according to court documents. He suffered abrasions and broken glasses.
Victor Titus, the attorney representing the parents of the 10-year-old and the 11-year-old, waived his attorney fee on the male student's settlement.
Parmley did not review a police report as part of his report to the court, stating it "appears unnecessary since the school has accepted liability," according to court documents.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.