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Fatal bus crash headed to court?

POSTED: January 5, 2018 4:53 p.m.
File photo by Lewis Levine /

The cause of a Dec. 5 crash that took the life of 5-year-old Cambria Shuman has not been released, but attorneys are already filing court documents regarding the case.

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The cause of a Dec. 5, school bus accident that claimed the life of 5-year-old Cambria Shuman has not been released yet, however Liberty County School System has been put on notice regarding possible lawsuits.
Jason Rogers, director of maintenance and operations for LCSS, said the system received a notice of legal representation, notice of claim, and demand for pre-suit disclosure of insurance coverage from T. Madden and Associates out of Jonesboro. The firm is representing bus driver Evelyn Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was injured during the wreck and was taken to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah.
Rogers added that the LCSS also received a request for insurance information from the Eicholz law firm. The firm listed two students as their clients.
Rodriguez, 62 was driving a busload of students to the Liberty County Pre-K Center and Taylors Creek Elementary School that foggy morning when the bus went off Ray Road near its intersection with Highway 196 in the Gum Branch area. The bus crashed into a tree. The impact killed Shuman and injured two dozen other students.
The investigation into the crash was first handled by the Georgia State Patrol Specialized Crash Recreation Team. They inspected the entire bus, gathered evidence and watched the bus video recordings. Just before the Christmas holiday the investigation was turned over to Atlantic Judicial District Attorney Tom Durden.
Rogers said the bus was a 2017 Bluebird. He had reported that this is the first school bus fatality involving a child that he can recall.
He said the buses are inspected daily, once prior to leaving the depot and once again at the end of their shift.
He said in addition to the daily check the buses are inspected by mechanics every 20 days; as well as, by the Department of Driver Services at least once a year.
Durden said his office is working with the investigative team to determine whether any charges will be filed against the driver or those who were in charge of maintenance of the bus. The decision could also be to not file any charges.
Rogers said he is not sure whether LCSS will receive more notices from attorneys. School officials learned Dec. 7 its legal firm, Jones Osteen and Jones, will no longer represent the system, according to a letter.
The firm has not responded to questions on why it stopped representing the system.

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