Kansas Lawsuit Over Fatal Team Bus Accident Remains Uncertain

November 6, 2008

The last time Kansas hosted Kansas State in football, the 2006 game was marred by a fatal accident involving the Cat Tracker bus, a modified Kansas State football fan bus.

A negligence lawsuit was filed last year in Douglas County after John Green, of Shawnee, was killed and Chris Orr, of Salina, was severely injured while they were riding through Lawrence on top of the modified bus on Nov. 18, 2006.

Both men hit their heads on an overpass and were knocked from the vehicle. Green died immediately, and Orr was hospitalized with brain injuries. Six other passengers ducked to avoid the 15-foot-high overpass. Orr continues to recover.

The customized bus is not affiliated with the university.

The lawsuit filed against the owners of the bus has not been resolved and no criminal lawsuit has been filed.

Green’s wife, Samantha, filed a negligence lawsuit shortly after the accident on behalf of herself and her daughter, who was not yet born. She claims the driver of the bus, Brent Simonsson, allowed passengers to ride on top of the bus and that there were no warning signs or barricades telling passengers not to climb to the top of the vehicle while it was moving.

One of the owners of the bus, Manhattan lawyer Robert Potroff, said after the accident there was a strict rule that no one was allowed to ride atop the bus while it was moving.

Cheryl Wright, assistant to the Douglas County Attorney, said the office has not filed any criminal action against any party involved in the case and has no plans to do so. The statute of limitations on a negligence case such as this one is five years.

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