School Bus Accident Drives Wyoming Lawsuit

On Oct. 4, 2017, at the cross-streets of CY Avenue and Ash Street, in Casper, Wyoming, Rick Walsh was riding his motorized bicycle near Natrona County High School when he was hit by a bus owned by the school district. The accident occurred when the bus turned left while Walsh was riding through the intersection.

Rick Walsh’s mother, Jacqueline Willis, has been legally appointed conservator and guardian of her son. Willis is suing the Teton County School District No. 1 in a suit that alleges that the driver disregarded the intersection traffic signal when turning left, failed to look for traffic, and did not yield the right of way causing, according to the lawsuit, “the school district bus to strike Mr. Walsh and his motorized bicycle.”

Walsh, age 57, now requires 24-hour care and lives in a group home. The lawsuit states that “Walsh has suffered serious and life-threatening injuries that have required hospitalizations, surgeries and full-time assisted living care. He is permanently disabled and has suffered significant traumatic brain injury.” Lawyers for Walsh and Willis are asking for over one million dollars in damages.

There were no students on board the bus at the time of the accident, which was in Casper for an activity trip. The bus was operated by Kelsey Clark, who is currently employed with the school district. Clark was not cited in the incident. Lawyers for the school district, in their Jan. 22 response, concede that the bus was involved in the accident, but deny Clark acted negligently, disregarded the light, or failed to check for traffic. The “Gillette News Record,” seeking a response to the suit from the law office of McKellar, Tiedeken & Scoggin, which represents the school, was informed that the office had no comment. Clark could not be reached.

The lawsuit was filed on January 4th, 2019, and was submitted in the Teton County District Court. The vehicular personal injury suit’s pretrial conference is set for Sept. 5, 2019. “It’s a serious case. Our jury system is the best legal system in the world, and the jury will look at it and give us justice, I believe,” says the plaintiff’s attorney, Bob Schuster. The trial is scheduled to start in early 2020.