Bus passenger sues over injuries suffered in collision

Kelly Holleran Jul. 20, 2009, 7:22am

A St. Clair County woman has filed suit against a woman, a transportation company and a bus driver after she says the bus got into a collision.

In the suit she filed against James O. Cozart, Bi-State Development Agency and Elizabeth H. Hoppa, Opal E. Jones claims she was a fare-paying passenger on a metro bus owned by Bi-State when the incident occurred on Aug. 11 at about 3:29 p.m.

As Cozart was driving the bus west on Baugh Avenue near its intersection with 15th Street in East St. Louis, it collided with Hoppa, who was driving her 1999 Infiniti north on 15th Street, according to the complaint filed July 9 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"Cozart had the duty to exercise the highest degree of care and caution consistent with the mode of conveyance used and the practical operation of the business of Bi-State in the operation and control of the bus he was operating to avoid injuries to those who were passengers on the bus, including Plaintiff," the suit states. "Despite this duty, Cozart operated the bus in such a manner that caused it to collide with the vehicle operated by Hoppa."

Because of the accident, Jones claims she sustained serious personal injuries, was hindered from attending to her usual affairs, suffered a great deal of mental and physical anguish and incurred medical expenses, the complaint says.

Cozart negligently failed to stop at an intersection controlled by a traffic control device, failed to give audible signal with his horn, drove too fast and failed to keep the vehicle under proper control, the complaint says.

Jones blames Hoppa for failing to stop at a stop sign, for failing to give warning with her horn, for driving too fast, for failing to keep her vehicle under proper and sufficient control and for failing to keep a proper and sufficient lookout for other vehicles.

In the three-count complaint, Jones is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

Mark C. Scoggins of Crowder and Scoggins in Columbia will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-367.

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