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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The family of a 6-year-old Warner Robins girl who died as a result of a 2018 bus crash has filed a lawsuit against bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corporation.
Six-year-old Arlana Haynes died as a result of her injuries in the January 2018 crash on Forest Park Drive in Warner Robins.
The complaint, filed January 14 in Bibb County, says Blue Bird “designed and manufactured the 2000 Blue Bird All American School Bus knowing that the vehicle was top heavy and unstable and prone to rollovers” and that Blue Bird “was aware that if the vehicle were to roll over, passengers–especially minor children–who were on a school bus without seat belts and not buckled in by a seat belt would be violently ejected from their seats and would suffer serious personal injuries and/or death.”
The complaint alleges Blue Bird Corporation “knew of these dangers” and “had defended numerous lawsuits involving similar incidents under similar circumstances and negligently, wantonly or willfully failed to notify their owners and operators of these incidents occurring.”
The bus driver, Shalita Harris, was convicted on charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and reckless driving by a Houston County jury in December 2019 and was sentenced to 10 years–three of them in prison.
Haynes’ mother, Angelica Rose, called her daughter a light in her parents’ lives during a February 2018 news conference.
“She was sunshine in the rain,” Rose said. “She made friends everywhere. There was no stranger, and everybody remembered her that saw her or met her.”
Attorney David Dozier with Dozier Law Firm in Macon–one of three firms representing the family (Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles of Montgomery, Alabama; Clark Smith & Sizemore of Macon) sent a statement to 41NBC Friday.
“We are hopeful that this lawsuit will ultimately bring justice for Arlana and create public awareness and change to the dangers our children face every day on school buses.”
41NBC reached out to Blue Bird Corporation for its reaction to the lawsuit and we are waiting to hear back.