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No criminal charges in Portland bus accident

A tragic accident involving a party bus took place in downtown Portland last fall. While the party bus was on the road, a young girl fell out of the door and was killed. This incident highlights the dangers all vehicles face on Portland roads today, and the fact that car accidents threaten all drivers and passengers alike.

Recently the police and the district attorney returned a report on the accident. The investigation concluded that the incident was merely an accident, not criminal homicide. According to the report, the window that the young girl fell out of was not properly latched, but investigators were unable to determine why. Investigators, however, did conclude that the bus was not registered or properly maintained such as not having adequate flares or hazard triangles as well as poorly maintained brakes.

Based on the findings, the district attorney will not be pressing charges in the case. The bus company, however, was fined. Though not the cause of the accident, the driver of the bus also did not have a proper driver's license. While the driver had an Oregon driver's license, he did not have a commercial license. The driver will likely be fined for failure to have a proper license.

The fact that the district attorney is not pressing criminal charges does not preclude the possibility of a civil suit, however. The family of any accident victim can seek compensation from a driver, a bus or truck company or any other party whose negligence may have been a factor. Such compensation may help victims' families make it through a difficult emotional time without losing control of their financial stability.

Source: Oregon Live, "Portland party bus death: DA says 11-year-old's death 'was an accident, not a criminal homicide,'" Stuart Tomlinson, Feb. 14, 2013. 

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