First lawsuit filed in tour bus crash; investigation still continuing

Wednesday, October 13th 2004, 6:53 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ The first lawsuit in a deadly Arkansas tour bus crash was filed by a man whose wife was killed, while investigators were still working to determine a cause.

McKinley Jacobs, 71, sued the bus company and the driver's estate Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims that negligence, brake problems and excessive speed caused the crash that killed his wife, 67-year-old Fannie Jacobs, and 13 others Saturday in Marion, Ark.

``You could handle it better if it was a natural cause, but this is a tragic situation,'' Jacobs said.

Jacobs said a 1984 crane accident crushed his legs, and he had depended on his wife to get along ever since.

The lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages, names as defendants Roosevelt Walters, his bus company, and the estate of his late brother, Herbert Walters, who was driving and was also killed.

Elliott Price, attorney for Walters' bus company, had not seen the lawsuit Tuesday and said he wouldn't comment.

Investigators have not stated a cause of the accident. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board began examining the wreckage, which was towed away Tuesday.

Some survivors were still being treated at hospitals in Little Rock and Memphis, Tenn. Two were in critical condition, two in serious condition, six in fair condition and four in good condition.