Death of Famed Bus Driver in North Carolina Bus Accident Leaves Everyone Looking for Answers

A bus crash has claimed the life of former North Carolina State University basketball star Lorenzo Charles. Law enforcement is looking for help to determine how the crash occurred, reports The News & Observer. We are in the midst of summer tourism season, but luckily no passengers were on board when the bus left the roadway.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers are aware of the recent closing of Sky Express after the tragic bus crash that killed 4 and sent 54 others to area hospitals. Passengers are at high risk for injury when using unreliable charter bus companies so seek legal advice if you have been injured in an accident.
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Lorenzo Charles was driving a charter bus on Interstate 40 when, for reasons unknown, he left the roadway and ended up in a wooded area. The former basketball star was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 47-years-old.

Charles was employed by Elite Tours that is located in Apex. Charles had just begun his workday around 3:30 p.m. when the crash happened on I-40 near the Chapel Hill Road on-ramp. According to the police report, the tour bus was going roughly 70 mph along the highway. Investigators report the bus traveled almost 400 feet through the grass next to I-40, crossed the Chapel Hill Road on-ramp, hit several trees and went down a hill heading back toward the interstate, where it finally came to a rest.

On the 911 tape, you can hear someone doing CPR on the victim but to no avail. A recent post to our North Carolina car accident lawyers blog reported on the shutting down of Sky Express by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for numerous safety violations.

FMCSA will not tolerate passenger bus companies that endanger public safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Working side-by-side with our North Carolina state law enforcement partners, we took strong action to shut down this unsafe bus company.”

The next time you plan a bus trip, make an informed decision and put safety at the top of your priority list. Make sure you pick a bus company that abides by the Federal requirements enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Confirm these facts before picking a bus company:

  • Check the bus company’s Safety Performance History score and see how it measures up to the national average.
  • Check the bus company’s FMCSA Safety Rating. A company with a satisfactory rating is an excellent choice, a conditional safety rating is a less than fair choice and a company with an unsatisfactory safety rating should not be picked.
  • Check to see if the company has insurance and operating authority from FMCSA. Bus companies that charge a fee and transport 16 or more passengers must carry at least $5 million of insurance coverage.

FMCSA wants to hear from you if you have a safety violation complaint. Call their toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or visit FMCSA’s consumer complaint site.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a North Carolina bus accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential appointment to discuss the right course of action. Call 1-800-887-1965 today.

Additional Resources: Charles was not buckled prior to fatal bus wreck, by Thomasi McDonald, The News & Observer

Students at increased risk of North Carolina school bus accidents as classes begin, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 28, 2010

Heavier Truck Loads Could Raise Risk of North Carolina Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 10, 2011

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