The estates of at least three victims killed in a Nov. 2023 charter bus crash have filed wrongful death lawsuits. (Top L-R) David Kennat, Kristy Gaynor, Shannon Wigfield, (bottom L-R) John Wyatt...

The estates of at least three victims killed in a Nov. 2023 charter bus crash have filed wrongful death lawsuits. (Top L-R) David Kennat, Kristy Gaynor, Shannon Wigfield, (bottom L-R) John Wyatt Mosley, Katelyn Nicole Owens, and Jeffrey "JD" Worrell were killed in the crash.

Photo: Tuscarawas Valley School District, School Bus Fleet

The families of at least three victims killed in a fiery crash aboard a charter bus in Ohio in Nov. 2023 have filed wrongful death lawsuits.

Six people — including four Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools students and two chaperones — were killed in the highway crash in Licking, Ohio, when the bus carrying a high school marching band was involved in a crash. Another 18 people were injured in the Nov. 14 crash.

New Details Released and Wrongful Death Suits Filed

Details of the lawsuits shed new light on a factor prosecutors believe could have prevented the crash altogether.

School Bus Fleet previously reported that a report from the Ohio Department of Public Safety revealed a semi-truck was following too close to the vehicles in front of it as traffic became congested due to an earlier crash ahead on Interstate 70, ultimately leading to the chain-reaction crash.

ABC 6 Columbus reported that court documents filed in Franklin County now state the Mid-State Systems 18-wheeler lacked a crash avoidance system that could have saved lives by alerting the driver and slowing or stopping the vehicle.

The estates of two bus passengers and students filed suit: 18-year-old John Wyatt Mosley and 15-year-old Katelyn Owens. The estate of Shannon Wigfield, a 45-year-old chaperone and passenger in one of the cars involved in the crash, also filed suit, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The lawsuits by Mosley and Owens' estates named defendants Fyda Freightliner Columbus; Timothy J. Fyda; Pioneer Trails, Inc.; Mid-State Systems, along with Lee Zazworsky, Donald Ray Wagler, and Jacob DeWayne McDonald, who was driving the tractor-trailer that caused the chain reaction at the time of the crash. 

Fyda is an officer at Fyda Freightliner, while Pioneer Trails is a for-hire motor carrier, and Mid-State Systems is a motor carrier company. Zazworsky is Mid-State Systems' president.

Wigfield's estate also included Honda Logistics North America, One World Logistics of America, CEVA Contract Logistics U.S., and Daimler Truck North America as defendants.

Attorneys argue that Fyda Freightliner sold the semi to Mid-State Systems without standard safety systems. They also accused the driver, trucking company, and the company that sold the truck of negligence.

The companies have denied responsibility for the crash in response to the complaints.

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