Lawyer: Pinellas student's death at bus stop was 'foreseeable'
It took us a while to get it, but here's the claim letterthat the attorney for the family of Nora Hernandez-Huapilla - the Pinellas Park High student who was struck and killed near her bus stop - sent to the district on Jan. 6.
The arguments from Clearwater attorney David A. Papa are no surprise. The letter says the bus stop at 66th Street N and 70th Avenue was "knowingly located on one of the most heavily traveled and dangerous streets in Pinellas County." It says one of the reasons for locating it there was "due to recent cuts in the transportation budget as approved by the Pinellas County School Board for the 2009-10 budget."
It mentions the early school start time. It cites complaints about the location of the bus stop prior to the tragedy. And it points a finger at the bus driver, saying the driver's "behavior and actions ... leading up to the accident directly contributed to the circumstances and conditions that resulted" in Nora's death.
The letter continues: "Due to prior fatal accidents involving bus stops located on heavily traveled and dangerous roads in Pinellas County, the fatal accident of December 18, 2009 was foreseeable by the planning authorities yet the bus stop was still placed in a knowingly dangerous location."
A lawsuit had not been filed as of late last week.
Pinellas School Board attorney Jim Robinson said the claim letter was not immediately handed to the St. Petersburg Times - which had requested it - because of concerns it was a student record, subject to federal privacy laws. Papa did not return several calls from the Times.