Lawsuits over Nine Eagles school bus crash begin to appear
TAMPA - More than a year after Lenoir Sainfimin drove a school bus into a lake outside Westchase, the parents of two of the Bryant Elementary School children on board have filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough Circuit Court.
Michelle Etman and Tom Fugatt, on behalf of their 8 and 11-year-old children, are alleging "pain and suffering, disaility, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life" and other damages as a result of the accident on Sept. 17, 2015.
With 27 children on the bus, there are other potential lawsuits, with a limited amount of money available. Because the Hillsborough County school district is a government entity, a state cap limits the awards to $200,000 per person or $300,000 per incident. It would take Legislative approval to go over that cap.
In the days after accident on Nine Eagles Road, the district released records that showed the bus had been driven nearly 300,000 miles but passed a safety inspection. Sainfimin, who was brand new to the district but had experience driving a school bus in Washington, D.C., was fired. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office cited him with careless driving. He pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.
School district spokesman T.G. Taylor said he could not comment on pending litigation.