Jury rules in favor of defendant in 2005 Liberty bus crash lawsuit

LIBERTY, Mo. - A Clay County jury has ruled in favor of the defendants in a lawsuit related to a deadly 2005 bus crash in Liberty.

The jury got the lawsuit Thursday evening after an eight-week trial. The crash killed two people and injured 23 children.

The defendants -- Freightliner LLC, Thomas Built Buses Inc. and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC -- told the court the driver is at fault for the crash. Nine of the 12 jurors came out in favor of the defendant.

After the crash, students told authorities the bus was driving unusually fast as the bus approached the intersection of Missouri 291 and Missouri 152. Fifty-three children were on board. Two men on Missouri 152 were killed when the bus destroyed their vehicles.

According to the documents, bus driver Irma Denise Thomas did not have drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the crash. She blamed faulty brakes, but the NTSB investigation did not support those claims.

An NTSB report, released more than four years after the crash, showed that board members found that pedal misapplication was a significant factor in the crash, meaning the driver hit the gas instead of the brakes because the pedals are similar in design and near each other.

The NTSB recommended pedal redesigns after the crash.

This is a developing story. Stay with KSHB.com and 41 Action News for updates.

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