Kelly Holleran Nov. 19, 2012, 8:12pm

A Missouri woman has filed suit against the bus company that she claims allowed her only five minutes to disembark and grab her luggage, causing her to fall.

Christine M. Willingham claims she was participating in a travel excursion to Chicago on Dec. 3, 2010. As part of the trip, Willingham was required to board defendant Vandalia Bus Lines to ride between Alton and Bloomington, then to leave the bus and to grab her luggage within five minutes, according to the complaint filed Oct. 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

However, the driver of the bus parked next to an uneven sidewalk, the suit states.

“Upon alighting from the bus, some individuals experienced difficulty, including but not limited to Willingham, who came in contact with the curved drop-off area upon alighting from the bus, and fell onto the ground resulting in serious bodily injury,” the complaint says.

The passengers were rushed because they were attempting to board an Amtrak train heading from Bloomington to Chicago. They were originally scheduled to ride the train from Alton to Bloomington, also, but Amtrak had to switch plans because of repair work being performed on its tracks between the two spots.

Because of her fall, Willingham claims she was made sick, sore, lame and disordered; suffered extensive injuries to her knees; and experienced pain and suffering. She also incurred medical costs, experienced disability, sustained disfigurement and lost her earning capacity, according to the complaint.

Vandalia negligently dropped patrons off in an area with an uneven sidewalk, had passengers disembark in a dangerous area, failed to have its drivers help people disembark from the bus, failed to warn passengers of the danger of the area, failed to park in an area that was free of an unevenness of ground and hurried passengers by informing them they had only five minutes, the suit states.

In addition to Vandalia and Amtrak, Willingham names Colleen Kenny doing business as Sun n’ Ski Travel as a defendant. Kenny had planned the trip from Alton to Chicago.

In her complaint, Willingham is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

D. Jeffrey Ezra of Ezra and Associates in Collinsville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-574.

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