The family of a west suburban middle schooler with a physical disability is suing Community Unit School District 303 in St. Charles after an accident on board a school bus left him hospitalized for two months.
Corban Pearson, 14, suffered multiple fractures, respiratory failure, brain injuries and decreased mobility, after being pinned to the floor of a school bus by his own wheelchair on Aug. 14, 2019, according to the lawsuit.
The family’s attorney, Pam Curran, said District 303 employees failed to properly strap Corban’s wheelchair to the bus for the ride home after school. She said a bus camera recorded the accident, although NBC 5 has not seen or heard the recording.
“The bus driver audibly was heard saying, ‘well, I have too many kids on the bus this afternoon, I’m just going to have to take it slowly around the corners,’" Curran said.
According to the lawsuit, the driver stopped to make a turn and Corban’s wheelchair tipped forward, pinning him to the floor.
“Once they couldn’t get the wheelchair off of him, the bus driver went back to driving the bus and dropped off another student along the route,” Curran said.
The lawsuit said Corban’s wheelchair tipped further forward and it took several minutes before 911 was called. The lawsuit also said more than a half hour lapsed from the time of the accident until District 303 contacted Corban’s parent.
A District 303 spokesperson said the district was unable to comment due to the pending litigation.
Curran said Corban is afraid to sit in his wheelchair and board a vehicle again.
“To see such an avoidable accident happen was traumatic for the entire family, much less for this child and for that they want to make sure that no other family has to suffer the way that they’ve had,” Curran said.
According to Curran, the lawsuit goes to court in October.