Driver in Irving bus wreck involved in1998 fatality accident April 12, 2013
DALLAS (AP) — The driver of the bus that swerved off a North Texas highway, leaving two passengers dead and dozens injured, was at the wheel in another fatal accident 15 years ago, records show.
The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Friday that Loyd Rieve, 65, was driving the tour bus Thursday that veered across the highway in Irving and into the center median with 46 passengers aboard.
The bus was operated by a Mansfield company, Cardinal Coach Line Inc. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred as the group of seniors was heading to an Oklahoma casino.
Court records show Rieve was driving for another company in 1998 when he struck and killed a man who was trying to render aid at an accident scene on a highway near Dallas.
A Dallas County grand jury declined to indict Rieve on a charge of negligent homicide, but Rieve and his employer still faced two civil lawsuits that contended they were negligent.
One lawsuit, filed by the family of the man who was killed, resulted in a jury finding that bus company Central West Motor Stages Inc. of Grand Prairie was negligent for employing Rieve. However, the jury awarded no damages, deciding that the good Samaritan, 22-year-old Chad Rosell of Detroit Lakes, Minn., was largely at fault.
Rosell's attorney, William Dunleavy, said Friday he was stunned when he learned Rieve was the driver of the bus involved in Thursday's accident.
"I thought, 'Why is this guy still driving?'" Dunleavy said.
The other suit was filed by a bus passenger who was badly injured, according to her attorney, George Otstott. The suit resulted in an out-of-court settlement, Otstott said.
A call to the attorney who represented Rieve and the company in the lawsuits wasn't immediately returned Friday.
DPS spokesman Lonny Haschel said authorities will interview Rieve and review his driving record. But Haschel said the 1998 accident will not have any bearing on the investigation into Thursday's wreck.
Paula Hahn, 69, and Sue Taylor, 81, were killed in the accident. The other 44 passengers sustained various injuries, and some remained hospitalized Friday, officials said.