Personal injury lawyers confirm a Knox County bus driver accused of causing a fatal school bus crash by texting while driving faced three lawsuits related to the crash before his death.
James Davenport, 48, was driving a bus carrying students from Chilhowee Intermediate School on Dec. 2, 2014, when he made a sharp turn on Asheville Highway, crossed a concrete median and crashed into a bus driven by Joe Gallman, causing it to flip over.
The crash killed six-year-old Zykia Burns, seven-year-old Seraya Glasper and 46-year-old teacher’s aide Kimberly Riddle. All three were traveling home from Sunnyview Primary School. Davenport and several others suffered injuries in the crash.
Davenport died on June 1. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said at this point the cause is believed to be a “natural death,” but authorities ordered an autopsy. Those results are not yet available. Authorities have not indicated if Davenport’s death could be tied to the crash.
Gallman filed a lawsuit on April 14 against Davenport and the owner of the bus, Robert Burroughs, for personal injury.
Joe Gallman, the driver of the other bus involved in the crash, filed a lawsuit on April 14 against James Davenport and the owner of the bus, Robert Burroughs for personal injury.
In the lawsuit, Gallman claimed he suffered severe and permanent personal injuries, including both physical and mental injuries, as a result of Davenport’s failure to maintain control of the bus, stay in his lane and exercise due caution.
His lawsuit seeks $1.5 million in damages and asks for a jury trial.
The same day, Christopher Cherry, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Davenport and Burroughs. Cherry is the father of seven-year-old Seraya Glasper, who was killed in the crash. The lawsuit makes the same allegations against the defendants and seeks $3 million in damages in a jury trial.
Larry and Keisha Wynn, the parents of Sydney Wynn, a passenger on Gallman’s bus, also filed a personal injury lawsuit on their daughter’s behalf against Davenport and Burroughs. Sydney Wynn suffered serious injuries when the bus overturned, according to the lawsuit.
The Wynns’ are seeking $1.75 million in damages and a jury trial.
Knoxville attorney and Inside Tennessee panelist Don Bosch weighs in on what happens next in legal action against the bus driver accused of texting while driving. The driver died before the lawsuits were heard in court. WBIR
Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs, who represents the families of Glasper and Riddle, indicated shortly after the crash that he would file wrongful death lawsuits on their behalf. Isaacs told 10News after Davenport’s death that he still intends to move forward with those plans.