Reporting Pam Zekman
(CBS) – A north suburban intersection that was the scene Friday of a fatal collision between a school bus and Jeep Friday has a dangerous history, state transportation officials say.
At the crossing at Route 173 and Kilbourne Road near Wadsworth, 53 accidents occurred between 2004 and 2011. The wrecks left 24 people injured and one dead, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports. It is considered a “high-severity crash” location.
Meanwhile, the school bus company that owns the school bus has been involved in personal-injury lawsuits, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.
Traffic lights were installed there last year to improve safety at the high-traffic intersection. But that did not prevent the westbound school bus from T-boning a Jeep Wrangler traveling southbound on Kilbourne, killing the Jeep’s driver.
“We have disputes as to the color of the light when the bus entered the intersection,” Lake County Sheriff’s Police Sgt. Sara Balmes said.
Sources say the bus driver is a 55-year-old woman who was licensed 10 years ago as a bus driver. She has a clean driving record.
The bus company, Durham School Services, also has a clean record, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. But CBS 2 has learned that in the last two years, the company has been a defendant in three personal-injury lawsuits.
One case was settled, the other two are pending.
A company spokesman said Durham is cooperating with the police investigation into Friday’s accident.
“Safety is Durham’s top priority and we are taking every step necessary to ensure that this accident is investigated and responded to appropriately,” a written statement said.
Part of that investigation will likely include whether the stop installed last august were working properly.