Megan Klindt’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Riverside Community School District in response to the December fire that claimed the 16-year-old’s life and that of her school bus driver, reports the Des Moines Register.
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Glen and Natalie Klindt allege the district was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Donald Hendricks, 74, who was behind the wheel when the fire broke out in a gravel road just off the family’s property. The suit claims that Glen Klindt had previously complained to the district about Hendricks making multi-point turns in the family’s driveway, rather than driving down the road.
The family claims Megan repeatedly complained about Hendricks’ unsafe driving and deviations from his planned route.
The suit also alleges that the district and Superintendent Timothy Mitchell knew of Hendricks’ driving issues, as well as health problems.
The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the incident, which is thought to have occurred as Hendricks attempted to extricate the school bus’ rear wheels from a ditch as he reversed out of the Klindt family driveway and onto a gravel road. A final report is not expected for another year.
Both Klindt and Hendricks died from smoke and soot inhalation, the Pottawattamie County coroner concluded.
Natalie Klindt was on scene with older daughter Michelle when the fire started and tried to assist Hendricks, but said the fire grew too hot, and they feared the bus would explode.