Iowa district to pay $4.8 million to family of girl killed in 2017 school bus fire
The district that employed the driver of a school bus that caught fire in December 2017, killing him and the teen girl who tried to save him, agreed to pay $4.8 million to her family rather than go to trial in March.
According to the settlement agreement obtained by 6 News, the money will come from two different insurance policies held by the Riverside Community School District, though as part of the agreement, the district does not have to admit to any wrongdoing.
The family released a statement Thursday responding to
Megan Klindt, 16, and Donald Hendricks, the 74-year-old school bus driver she tried to save, were killed in
. Her parents, Glen and Natalie Klindt, filed the lawsuit against the
in April 2018 in Pottawattamie County.
The terms of the settlement,
, remain confidential.
"Megan's family... will continue to be haunted by the knowledge that her death could have easily been prevented if the numerous documented complaints and concerns of Riverside parents had been heeded by the school superintendent and transportation supervisor," the statement says.
The fire happened in the Klindt's driveway shortly after Megan was picked up for school. The NTSB determined Hendricks backed the bus into a ditch and became stuck. The turbocharger in the engine overheated, and the bus wasn't equipped with a fire-suppression system, which would have bought them more time to escape, according to NTSB investigators.
The lawsuit documented complaints made about Hendricks’ driving — warnings that questioned whether he was fit to be a driver for the district. It also didn't help that the driver had trouble walking; the NTSB questioned whether he could even help kids in an emergency.
In Thursday's statement, the family says they are glad to see the
adopt additional safety standards and protocol in light of the accident.
"(We) hope that no other family ever has to know the pain they feel in losing a child in such a tragic and senseless way," the statement says.
Last June, the National Transportation Safety Board
for the incident because the principal and the district's transportation supervisor knew about the driver's medical condition but didn't ask for an exam.