Ottawa bus-train crash survivor launches $4M lawsuit
Joram Kunaka launches 4th lawsuit connected to fatal crash in suburb of Barrhaven
A passenger who survived the fatal bus-train crash in Barrhaven last September has launched $4-million lawsuit against the City of Ottawa and the estate of the bus driver.
Joram Kunaka was thrown onto his side and and had "numerous people" fall on top of him when Route 76 crashed into a VIA Rail train at a rail crossing near Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road on Sept. 18, 2013, according to a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court last week.
Six people died in the crash, including the driver Dave Woodard. The families of two victims and another survivor are also suing the city and Woodard's estate.
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Kunaka claims he was unable to continue his undergraduate studies in social sciences and economics at the University of Ottawa due to "permanent and serious" physical, mental and psychological impairments stemming from the crash.
The right side of his body was injured, including his neck, leg, knee, as well as his lower back, according to the claim.
He also claimed his ability to "participate in recreational, social and household activities" has been diminished.
Bus driver, City of Ottawa negligent: claim
Kunaka claims Woodard ignored "all warning signs," including screaming passengers, when he drove the bus "at a high rate of speed" into the train.
Woodard, 45, had nearly 10 years of experience as a bus driver with a clean driving record, according to the union that represents OC Transpo drivers.
But Kunaka claims Woodard was a negligent and incompetent driver who "created an emergency."
The statement of claim lists various possible scenarios, including the suggestion Woodard may have been ill, tired, impaired and/or distracted at the time of the crash. The claim also suggests the bus involved in the crash may not have been in a proper mechanical condition.
The City of Ottawa, Woodard's employer at the time of the crash, is also accused of being negligent. The claim suggests Woodard may not have been qualified for his job.