Last Saturday morning, an Asheville bus driver, Ralph Terry Dowdle, ran off of College Street, up onto the sidewalk, and struck a woman who was entering the Mediterranean Restaurant. After striking the woman, the bus continued to collide with the entrances of several businesses. The woman, whose identity has not been released, suffered a severe injury to her leg. Hospital officials have said that doctors had to amputate her leg. She is still listed at Memorial Mission Hospital as being in critical condition.
The Asheville Police Department (APD) has issued a report that says that the bus driver lost consciousness just before the accident. The loss of consciousness is allegedly due to an undiagnosed medical condition, though officials have not disclosed what that condition is. As a result, the District Attorneys office has decided not to file criminal charges against the bus driver.
Mr. Dowdle works for a subsidiary of First Transit, which operates the public transportation system in Asheville. One can only wonder how a bus driver could have a serious medical condition, that could cause him to lose consciousness, and not be aware of it. In this author’s legal opinion, the bus driver, his employer First Transit and the City of Asheville are all liable for the woman’s serious injuries. We can only hope that all of the responsible parties will do the right thing and help compensate the injured lady for all of her harms and losses. More often than not, in situations like this, we are told that there was no way that anyone could have known this might happen, and therefore we are not responsible for the injuries. In such cases, litigation is the only way to discover the truth.