Tow Truck Driver Died When School Bus Was Struck by SUV, Michigan
Michigan Case Report: 18MI037
Report Date: 03/09/2020
In Spring 2018, a tow truck driver in his 40s died when he was pinned against a tow truck lift fork and run over by a school bus when the bus was struck by an SUV traveling at a high rate of speed. Due to a flat tire, the bus driver pulled over to the shoulder near the entrance of an exit ramp. The decedent responded to the call and set up his truck approximately 8-10 feet in front of the school bus. The decedent was lying on the ground, looking under the bus trying to decide what equipment he would need to hook the bus to move it. An SUV traveling in the left lane at a high rate of speed made an abrupt turn to the right swerving across two lanes, driving onto the shoulder. As the SUV attempted to reenter the freeway it struck the driver’s side rear of the school bus, pushing it forward eight to ten feet. The bus pinned the decedent against the boom, the tire ran over and crushed him, and the bus spring shackle bolts struck him in the chest. He was declared dead at the scene.
- SUV driver allegedly impaired by alcohol and drugs lost vehicle control due to an abrupt lane change
- Empty school bus parked on shoulder of exit ramp on busy expressway
In order to prevent future incidents with wood chippers, tree trimming companies should ensure that:
- School districts and firms employing school bus drivers should develop a policy regarding stopping on an active roadway.
- Tow truck operators should work in conjunction with law enforcement/emergency service providers to secure the work area prior to loading and securing a vehicle.
- Tow truck operators should consider National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training, regardless of company size.
- Tow truck operators working in active roadways should always wear appropriately selected protective equipment.
- Towing companies should consider utilizing portable emergency warning devices.
- Motorists should never drink and drive and always plan to ensure they have a ride with a sober driver.