A Seattle family is suing Greyhound Lines, Inc. because one of its drivers hit and killed their son.
The family says Greyhound’s actions were negligent and completely preventable.
It was supposed to be a simple stop in Central Oregon. But what happened next changed the lives of a Seattle family forever.
“I sent him a text when he was getting on. I said have a good safe trip, let us know when you get there and we love you. He said I will, love you, boarding now,” said Barry Brown.
The message from Brown and Paula Becker was sent to their son Hunter before his trip to San Francisco. After arriving at a stop in Oregon, Hunter would be hit and killed by his bus driver.
“Nobody who gets on a Greyhound bus should have to worry that the driver is going to kill them on the way to where they’re going,” said Brown.
Hunter’s parents are suing Greyhound for negligence in their son’s death.
The lawsuit claims the driver had already served a nine-hour shift, then left the stop early. When Hunter tried to get on the bus, he was knocked off balance and was run over.
“Greyhound needs to take steps, they need to take formal steps, to make sure the passengers who trust them are safe and protected,” said Brown.
I’ve been investigating Greyhound for months.
In my report, we told the story of a Karon Eberhart. A woman with stage four lung cancer, which has metastasized to her brain, was stranded at an Oregon gas station for more than 12 hours.
“It was horrible,” said Eberhart
Eberhart was stuck there with Vernon Thompson, another passenger from Seattle.
They were offered no food or lodging.
Eberhart had to sleep on the floor of a Subway restaurant.
“She looked confused, tired, disheveled and hungry,” said Thompson. “It was like seeing my grandmother stranded in desperation and needed help.”
Thompson stayed with Eberhart the entire time to ensure she made it home safely.
“OK we can’t get on the bus. Because I can’t leave her so we’re just going to ride it out, until we can all get on the bus together. And that’s how we did it. We had to stick together and take care of each other,” said Thompson.
And when Karon’s daughter, Angie Niethamer, complained to Greyhound, “after 2 hours of talking to a supervisor, Greyhound said they would give her a $100 travel voucher, which was less than her ticketed price. And I told him very nicely, I said I’m not calling you for 2 hours because I’m bored. And that’s insulting and she will never go on your bus again.”
“I can’t say I was happy, I was more frustrated they recognized my situation because it’s happened to more people than me,” said Thompson. “So, there is somebody, stranded right now with Greyhound in the middle of nowhere.”
I’ve been investigating Greyhound for months and now I’m asking for action from lawmakers. I asked Representative Rick Larsen of Washington’s 2nd Congressional District to look into a Bus Passenger’s Bill of Rights.
In a statement Larsen said,
“As a leader on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I take the safety and wellbeing of passengers on mass transit very seriously. I have been in contact with the Transportation Committee staff to fully comprehend what protections are in place for bus travelers and explore possible legislative actions.”
Larsen cannot comment on the lawsuit. But I will be checking in with him about the progress of any legislation he may propose.