Pa. woman files suit over fatal NY Megabus crash

PHILADELPHIA - August 8, 2011

Lo Wah Chu, 56, of King of Prussia, suffers from catastrophic brain and spinal injuries from the September 2010 crash near Syracuse, according to a lawsuit transferred last week to federal court in Philadelphia.

Driver John Tomaszewski missed a turn late at night and failed to clear a low railroad bridge after missing 12 warning signs, some with flashing yellow lights, a New York grand jury concluded this year.

Chu was sitting in the upper deck when the 13-foot-1-inch-tall bus slammed into the 10-foot-9-inch bridge, her suit said. She also broke her hip, ankle and other bones. Her suit maintains that a company-installed GPS or other technology would have prevented Tomaszewski from getting lost or striking the bridge.

According to police, Tomaszewski was using a personal GPS with an audio feature and may have been distracted. Coach USA, which operates Megabus, has said that using any GPS device while driving is against company policy.

Tomaszewski, who was also injured in the crash, has been charged with negligent homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

Chu's lawsuit is one of several filed so far against the bus company, the driver and others. The civil cases are being put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case, according to lawyer Robert Paessler, who represents Tomaszewski in the civil matters.

A lawyer for Megabus did not immediately return a call for comment from The Associated Press.

The Philadelphia-to-Toronto bus was carrying 29 people, including the driver, when it crashed at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 11 in Salina. The crash killed a New Jersey teenager, a Philadelphia college student from Kansas, a Malaysian preacher and an information technology specialist from India.

Chicago-based Megabus operates about 100 double-decker buses on scheduled routes to 33 cities in the Northeast and Midwest. It has carried about 7 million passengers since its launch in 2006, with no previous fatal highway accidents.

The company has said it equips each bus with a GPS system that allows the company to track its location, but the device cannot be used by a driver to get directions.

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