NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – The parents of three softball players killed in a 2014 crash in Oklahoma stood Wednesday in front of the bus their daughters were riding that day.
A mangled wreck, the bus was on display at The Tracy Firm, which is representing the families in a lawsuit against the bus maker, Champion Bus.
“This is what came between my daughter and a semi,” said Keith Pelton, pointing at a thin board along the side of the bus. “She was dead that quick,” he said, snapping his fingers, “because they didn’t feel the need to make something safe.”
The bus was carrying North Central Texas College’s softball team, when it was hit by a truck.
Four players died in the crash – Jaiden Pelton, Meagan Richardson, Brooke Deckard and Katelynn Woodlee.
The driver of the truck, Russell Staley, was set to go to trial for their deaths, but committed suicide last weekend.
“It doesn’t matter if a criminal was driving that vehicle or a nun, the consequences are the same when you don’t have the testing and the engineering,” said Todd Tracy, the families’ attorney.
He claims the girls should have survived.
He’s accusing the bus maker of not performing crash tests and using shoddy materials.
“It’s made of foam. It’s made of cardboard,” he said.
“This is not something they should ever have been in. I know you don’t expect to be in an accident, but you have to plan for it,” said Teresa Richardson, Megan’s mother.
The families say they’re focusing on preventing further tragedy.
“If anything good can come out of our children’s deaths, maybe these things will be made safer or just taken off the road,” said Pelton.
CBS11 reached out to Champion Bus, but has not received a response.
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