Iowa City Schools Sued Over Unsecured Wheelchair, Accident

May 6, 2014

The parents of an Iowa City girl are suing the school district over injuries they say the then-13-year-old received because her wheelchair wasn’t properly secured in a bus.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported that Bradley Kaldahl and Soon Ryang filed a lawsuit against the school district and bus company, Durham School Services, over the May 2012 accident.

The lawsuit said Samantha Kaldahl, who has cerebral palsy, sustained head injuries and a broken tooth when she fell out of her wheelchair after the bus hit a bump, and then the 90-pound wheelchair fell on her.

The roughly $15,000 wheelchair was damaged.

The school district’s attorney, Joseph Holland, said the lawsuit would be handled by the district’s insurance company.

Durham School Services referred questions to the company’s corporate office, and a spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond for comment.

Bradley Kaldahl said he has been frustrated with the way the bus company responded to his concerns.

:This is not business, this is my daughter. This is a little girl with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a sweet little kid. It just breaks my heart,” he said. “I think other parents should know.”

Surveillance video from the bus shows Samantha Kaldahl’s wheelchair moving around on the bus, and court documents say it shows the incident that injured her.

Attorney Martin Diaz, who represents the family, said a Durham employee on the bus was responsible for securing the wheelchair.

The lawsuit said the negligence of the employee on the bus is the main reason the girl was injured, but that Durham and the school district are responsible because the bus supervisor worked for them.

David Dude, the district’s chief operating officer, said the bus supervisor is no longer employed by the bus company.

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