Disney World sued by mom of boy killed in bus accident

Featured, News — By Jason Garcia on October 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm

By Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel

The mother of Chase Brubaker, the 9-year-old killed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in April, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S.and Disney bus driver David R. Rich.

Brubaker, of Redington Beach, died after he struck the side of a passing Disney bus and was pulled under its rear wheels. The Florida Highway Patrol blamed a flat bicycle tire for the fatality, saying the child’s dirt bike was in “unsafe condition.”

The lawsuit, filed late last week in Orlando’s Circuit Court, blames sidewalk conditions and the park bus system for the death.

It states that pedestrians often must step off the sidewalk and onto the roadway or an unpaved wetland area to avoid other cyclists and pedestrians. Railings and steep gullies stop people from stepping toward the interior of the park when trying to pass others, according to the complaint

“Consequently, contact between a pedestrian and a bus or vehicle was reasonably foreseeable to occur and therefore cause serious injury or death to the pedestrian,” the lawsuit claims.

On the day of the collision, the bus driven by David Rich was heading south on Big Pine Road in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, the suit says. Chase Brubaker was on his bicycle wearing a safety helmet, riding on the sidewalk and heading south as well, before the collision.

The suit says Disney “owed a duty of care to its invitees…to ensure that the bus system was operated such that it was free from hazards that were reasonably foreseeable to cause death or serious injuries.”

It also should have a road system free of such hazards as well, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit calls for damages in excess of $15,000.

Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez cited the FHP report and said the driver was found to be not at fault. She added, however, “it doesn’t lessen the sadness we feel for the Brubaker family.” She also said it is “inappropriate to comment further as the matter is in litigation.”

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    20 Comments

  • Jim says:

    How about the parents being negligent?? Sorry for the little kid , of course, but can’t ride into the side of a moving bus.Is there anything called an accident anymore? Websters is going to say “see lawsuit” when you look up accident.

  • Brenan says:

    I think this parents are dumb and the kid should of been watching the road. They just want some money. I wish the parents were struck by the bus too.

  • Jared says:

    When this tragedy happened, I guaranteed she would sue even though the police found no fault with the park. Americans are so predictable. We’ve become a culture of victims that demand monetary compensation when something bad happens to us. Pathetic and embarrassing.

  • disneyangelsfan says:

    The kids(9&12)were riding alone,right? Who in their right mind would let their kids ride their bikes(without adult supervision)around Disney,especially the campground.Oh,that’s right….those idiots!

  • Mike says:

    Look, it is awful what happened and I feel bad for the family and the bus driver. It was not the bus drivers fault and not Disney’s fault I understand and agree with that. But to make comments that you wish the family was hit and killed also or that they were idiots is really harsh. I think she is wrong for suing and I hope she does not win but that does not change the fact that I feel bad for her and think saying some of the awful things that were said by others is just plain wrong….

    • disneyangelsfan says:

      Calling the parents idiots is HARSH? That’s right…let’s be politically correct.Let’s not say what’s on our minds.I feel sorry for the parents,but,it was their responsibilty to keep an eye out for their kids so this would not happen.As my son would say,”BIG FAIL” on their part.Being PC is what’s wrong with this country.

  • JOHN says:

    And people wonder wht it costs $80 a day to do to Disney? When do we have tort reform in this country to lower costs and help create business and jobs?

  • Curiouser says:

    While I am not surprised she is suing, I am very saddened by it. How is this Disney’s responsibility? Maybe the parents should have checked the bike tires before he went riding. Maybe the parents should have been with the boy as he and his friend went riding. Bottom line – the BOY hit the bus – not the other way around. Suing the bus driver is just cruel – don’t you think he has enough guilt (even though he wasn’t at fault!) over what happened? Shame on the parents. Money won’t bring their son back – and they don’t deserve any $$$, either.

    Just sad, and shame on the lawyers (sharks/scum) as well.

  • disneyworld1#fan says:

    Though I do think that wishing the whole family to get run over is a bit extreme,I do believe that the parents are idiots.They let the kid run wild (as they probably do even at home much less on vacation) and go out in the street,a bus is a very big,loud vehicle and if the parents did not show their children basic road safety,and then have to sue disney for their own neglegance and irresponsibility.It would be like letting your dog roam free in the streets and then sue the driver if the dog got run over!

  • Disney Rocks says:

    I feel sorry for the bus driver. He apparently will have to hire a lawyer to defend himself. Any money this costs him should be paid by the parents when they lose their lawsuit. People see dollar signs when they are at Disney. In CA they had a mother (from another country) push her kid out of a ride vehicle so he got injured and she could sue. SHe didn’t realize that it was all caught on tape.

  • bouledoux says:

    Here again “Loser pays all costs” would have saved this ridiculous case ever going to court..

  • william says:

    If there are kids around a bus, what fella in his right mind would put it in drive, knowing that people are standing around the bus, and could get crushed? Especially kids. A kid isn’t supposed to know these things, and particularly at Disney World. The public goes there to have fun. Not “be responsible fill-in-the-political-blank-here”.

  • sarah says:

    I have stayed at Fort Wilderness and there are buses that run constantly throughout the camp ground. To say the driver should not have moved is not realistic. Guests are bused around the grounds to get to there destinations . There are always people walking around. So if the driver cannot move to avoid guests then he will not be able to move much. Vacation is supposed to be fun but not with a lack of personal responsibility!!!!

  • Laureen says:

    I was there when the accident happened. The bus was already moving when the unsupervised boy was on his way to the pool an ran into the side of the bus. Accidents happen especially when people are neglectful. Just because it is a vacation should common sense be thrown out the window. Not only were the parents letting the children ride unattended( I do not feel that a 12 year old is old enough to have any responsibility. That poor Girl)The children were riding to the pool area to swim unsupervised the parents just leaving it up to other people to watch their kids. I have been to This campground many times and the only transportation is the buses throughout the facility. They are not going 60 miles and hour they are driving at a reasonable rate and are making frequent stops. I feel that as usual people are pushing the blame on someone else for their own shortcomings. Parents need to supervise their children it is not the rest of the worlds job to watch out for your kid. I hope that no money is awarded and possibly a judge saying this is your own fault would be good.

  • Adam says:

    This has *nothing* to do with negligence on the bus driver. It is all about money and going after Disney and a financially vulnerable bus driver. This will never go to court. This will be settled – which is exactly what the lawyers want.
    Easy money for the lawyers for doing nothing.

  • CommonSense says:

    It is tragic that this lady lost her son, but it is equally tragic that this individual does not take accountability or responsibility for her bad decision making. Anyone staying at a Disney resort – campground or otherwise – knows that buses travel around the parks and resorts frequently. Anyone knows that it could be potentially unsafe to bike around any area that is frequented by automobiles and other transportation vehicles. By allowing your child to ride ALONE in this type of area, you are assuming responsibility for that risk. The bus driver and Disney are NOT responsible. That parents are. They are trying to cash in on their child’s death – and that’s sick!

  • CommonSense says:

    And this woman should be cited with failing to maintain her son’s bicycle. If someone drives a car on a flat or bald tire, they can be cited with failing to maintain their vehicle. This woman needs a reality check. Her poor judgement and lack of her son’s bicycle maintenance contributed to this accident. Maybe should also be charged as an accomplice in her son’s death; in a couple of ways she was directly involved. Someone should sue her on her son’s behalf: maybe her Mother for loss of grandchild.

  • william says:

    Are there barriers to stop kids from riding their bikes around heavy moving buses? Are there warning signs saying possibly: “Hey! There are moving buses here! These roads are narrow! Don’t ride your bike here! Don’t have fun!” If this is an accident, then where’s the responsibility? All I see is “don’t concern yourself with a dead kid”!

  • Jenny says:

    William, it seems as if your story is changing. First the bus driver is an idiot for putting the bus in drive while children are near, and now, with that disputed by others, Disney is not wrong for plastering the area with signs. The bottom line is that this was an accident – a very tragic one. The bus driver was doing his job – transporting guests. Disney was doing its job by providing the means of transportation. The parents never intended for this to happen, but it was due to a flat tire and a moment’s distraction on the part of the child. Let’s not blame anyone, except for the parents perhaps, who, though unintentional, did not supervise their child and keep the bike up to proper maintenance. Please, stop blaming Disney for this. Really – the sidewalk placement is bad? Please. At least there are sidewalks! I’ve been to many a campground where there are ZERO sidewalks, just the main roadway. Disney deserves to be cleared of these allegations, and the bus driver deserves an apology and to have his lawyer fees paid.

  • vicky says:

    If this same accident happened on any city street with the same bus traffic would you react the same? Maybe? In the kids hometown he may have been known by the bus drivers and given a wider birth. I am not writting to defend the parents but wondering if this is just the wrost wake-up call a parent can get.Remember when we were kids and everyone kept their eyes out for kids theming the kids when they did something wrong….Nowdays many parents do not want that.If my kids are about to do something wrong or have done something wrong please tell them if I am not there or you see what I do not see. Also tell me!I do not blame the bus driver or Disney.I also do not blame the parents as I do not know enough about them or that day.I just pray that all of those involved can heal.

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