A pair of Tacoma-based exchange students who survived a bus crash that killed nine people in Eastern Oregon last month filed a lawsuit Sunday against the tour company, the teens lawyer said.
The lawsuit alleges that the driver of the bus that crashed 100 feet down an embankment Dec. 30 east of Pendleton with about 40 passengers was fatigued and drove too fast for the road conditions based on traffic warnings. The Vancouver, B.C.-based company, Mi Joo Tour & Travel Ltd., could not be reached for comment Sunday night.
Cousins Chae Jong-hyun and An Seong-jun, from South Korea, have been living near Browns Point for several months with a family friend during their exchange, lawyer Charles Herrmann said.
An, 15, is studying at Stadium High School, and Chae, 16, is studying at Christian Faith School in Federal Way, Herrmann said. They were on the bus, which was returning to Vancouver, B.C., the last part of a nine-day tour of the western United States.
Chae was knocked unconscious and An fainted, according to the lawsuit, filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
The boys were treated and observed for about eight hours at a hospital after the crash, and were treated for three days following that at a hotel coordinated by the American Red Cross, their attorney said.
The lawsuit alleges that the bus driver also was working as a tour guide for the first eight days of the trip and violated federal regulations concerning the maximum time someone can be on duty and driving, and that he worked almost 100 hours in the eight days prior to the accident.
It also cites a notice from the Oregon Department of Transportation, which it says warned drivers that lower speeds than posted were necessary during poor weather where the accident occurred. Signs ahead of where the bus crashed warned of dangerous conditions, according to the lawsuit.
Because the boys are minors, the family friend who is hosting them is acting as their guardian ad litem, Herrmann said. A trial date is set for January 2014.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268
The Associated Press contributed to this report.