Kanawha schools, bus company blamed for boy's injuries

By Lawrence Smith | Feb 5, 2009

CHARLESTON - A Jackson County woman wants Kanawha County school officials and the manufacturer of school buses they operate held responsible for alleged injuries her son sustained from a faulty door.

On Jan. 26, Misty Strickland, on behalf of her son, Tyler Mullins, filed suit against the Kanawha County Board of Education and Thomas Built Buses Inc. in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In her complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Fayetteville attorney Greg A. Hewitt, Strickland alleges Tyler was injured when a bus door closed on him.

According to court records, Tyler was riding on bus destined for Cedar Grove on Oct. 1, 2007. At the time, Tyler was going to school and living with Strickland in Cedar Grove.

They since have moved to Ripley.

As he was exiting the bus, the driver "negligently operated the door causing it to close on the Plaintiff." Conceding the driver may not be at fault, Strickland still maintains the "door switch and/or harnessing on the bus was defective," making the co-defendant, Thomas Built Buses, "strictly liable for the defect."

Located in High Point, N.C., Thomas custom builds 15,000 school, commercial and specialty buses a year. It is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America.

Regardless, Strickland alleges the incident resulted in Tyler "suffer[ing] serious and permanent injuries to his right shoulder and arm and incurr[ing] $5,000 in medical expenses." As a result of his injuries, Tyler incurred "pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress" and "in the future [will] suffer a diminished capacity to enjoy life."

As compensation, Strickland is asking "for judgment against the Defendants in such amount that is justified by the evidence."

The case has been assigned to Judge Irene C. Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-134

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