Fatality in Missouri School Bus Accident near Pleasant Hope
A Pleasant Hope woman was killed in a Polk County Missouri schoolbus accident on January 24, 2012 at 3:55pm. The accident was reconstructed by a crash team to better understand how the accident occurred.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a 2001 Dodge pickup truck skidded out of control across Route H, south of Pleasant Hope, Missouri. The pickup truck skidded into the path of a 2000 GMC schoolbus. The schoolbus crashed broadside into the pickup truck.
Tracy L. Bauer of Pleasant Hope was killed in the accident. She was pronounced dead by Pok County Coroner Roy Harms. Bauer was the driver of the pickup truck. Wilfred S. Hardiman of Buffalo, the drive of the school bus, suffered moderate injuries. Hardiman was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri for medical treatment. No children were injured in the Missouri school bus accident.
Missouri school bus accident liability may be difficult for an accident victim to understand. One complication is the concept of governmental immunity. Essentially, governmental immunity means that governmental units cannot be sued, unless they consent to be sued. Governmental immunity presents a definite hurdle for schoolbus accident victims, since schoolbus drivers may be employees of a local government.
The State of Missouri enacted state statute § 537.600 to emphasize that governmental immunity for the state (also known as “sovereign immunity”) is still in effect: “Such sovereign or governmental tort immunity …shall remain in full force and effect.” However the statute then waives that immunity for injuries that result from negligent motor vehicle operation by public employees. If the municipality that employs the bus driver has a similar statute, an accident victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the bus driver and the municipality.