The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has cleared Las Vegas school bus driver, Leslie Rice, of criminal wrongdoing in the death of a Las Vegas school girl. According to the LVMPD report, the incident, which took the life of 11-year old Kaylee Derks, was an unfortunate accident.
In March, Rice was substituting for another school bus driver. As he drove a group of students home, he safely dropped Kaylee off in front of her northwest valley neighborhood. As the bus made a wide right turn to avoid the cars parked on the street, Kaylee stepped off the curb into the path of the bus. The rear wheels of the bus crushed the student as the bus continued a few feet before stopping. Kaylee was dead by the time the ambulances arrived.
Rice, whose driving record contained no previous accidents, passed a drug and alcohol test at the scene.
A witness at the scene surmised that Rice may have been looking left as he made his right turn; that Kaylee ran into the street without noticing the bus, or the parents at the scene should have done more to protect the children getting off the bus. Parents in the neighborhood have described the bus stop as chaotic and dangerous because parents pick up their children on both sides of the street. Though there have been complaints about the bus stop, the Clark County School District said the number of complaints was not unusual. The School District also explained that due to the district’s policy of not having bus stops on private streets, the bus stop where Kaylee got off could not be moved. Though the bus stop was not moved, after Kaylee’s death, the district changed its bus route so drivers would not enter the northwest valley neighborhood.
Under Nevada law, when a school bus accident, which includes personal injury, vehicle accidents, and deaths, occurs, the bus driver, bus company, school district, or other third parties can be responsible. Because of the complicated process of obtaining a proper bus accident investigation and reconstruction, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death if you wish to pursue compensation.