Northwestern Indiana Megabus placed out of service; lawsuits pending following recent accidents

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GARY, Ind. (Dec. 31, 2014)-- A Megabus full of passengers was placed out of service Wednesday after the bus was stopped for speeding and leaning to the right.

An Indiana State Police sergeant was patrolling I-80/94 around 10:20 a.m. Wednesday morning when he clocked a Megabus east bound at Grant Street at 67 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone.

The officer also saw that the bus was leaning to the right. The bus, driven by Damaris Hussain, 47, Chicago, Ill., told police she was aware the coach was leaning to one side.

The bus had 67 passengers going from Chicago to Atlanta, Ga.

The bus was escorted to a truck stop. Inspectors placed the bus out of service for suspension failure, defected bus emergency exit and unsafe operations. Inspectors discovered the driver had to physically close the emergency exit door by hand.

A replacement bus arrived at the truck stop from Chicago at 12:25 p.m., when all passengers resumed their trip. Hussain was ticketed for speeding and suspension failure.

A spokesperson for Megabus released the following statement:

" is aware of the incident on I-80/94 (Borman Expressway) in Indiana this morning and continues to be fully cooperative with the investigation. All companies receive regular safety audits by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and all have the highest safety rating achievable by US DOT, which is satisfactory. Additionally, was recently awarded the highest safety rating by the Transportation Safety Exchange, an independent safety monitoring organization."

There are currently two lawsuits filed against Megabus involving recent accidents. Attorney Tom Zimmerman represents a total of 19 crash victims. He said the allegations are similar in both cases.

The legal action involves a Megabus accident on a Chicago-bound bus that crashed the day before Christmas on I-65 in Seymour and a bus that tipped over in October on I-65 in Greenwood. Since October there have been four accidents involving a Megabus; three happened in Indiana and one in Kentucky.

"There are reports from the passengers in both accidents stating that the drivers were driving too fast for conditions that it appeared to them that the drivers were trying to make up time so that they could reach their destination on schedule," said Zimmerman.

Records from the U.S. Department of Transportation show the Chicago division of Megabus received seven unsafe driving violations and 27 unsafe vehicle violations over the past two years. Inspectors awarded Megabus an overall rating of satisfactory.

The U.S. DOT  has inspection records available online or by downloading the SaferBus Mobil App.