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Oregon bus crash

A chartered tour bus crashed in Pendleton, Ore., on Dec. 30, killing nine and injuring 39.

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A Canadian lawyer representing victims of an Oregon tour bus crash that left nine people dead and three dozen injured filed a $700 million lawsuit Monday in Pendleton.

The complaint alleges the tour bus drivers were negligent, and it also accused Oregon and ODOT of failing to make an icy stretch of Interstate 84 safe for driving.

The Mi Joo Tour and Travel bus left Vancouver, Canada on a sightseeing trip with 47 people aboard – most of them South Korean – in December 2012.

As it headed back toward Canada on Dec. 30, it passed an exit for Deadman’s Pass. About a mile later, bus driver Haeng-Kyu Hwang lost control and slid into a concrete barrier on the left side of the road, the lawsuit says, and then spun toward the right section and went through a guard rail.

buscrashThe bus plummeted about 200 feet down an embankment, rolling at least once. The passengers inside did not have seat belts and “were thrown about violently,” the lawsuit said, and some were thrown through windows and slammed against an embankment of sharp rocks.

The bus landed upright at the bottom of the canyon. Nine people died and everyone else on board suffered injuries, the lawsuit said.

The complaint filed in Umatilla County this week accuses the bus drivers of driving too fast, failing to brake properly and failing to select a safer driving route, among a dozen other allegations.

It also says ODOT failed to equip the stretch of I-84 with barriers of sufficient strength and failed to sufficiently plow the roadway.

Attorney Scott Parks is asking for a trial by jury in the lawsuit.


busAn attorney for the company involved in last month’s bus plunge in east Oregon said “it is believed black ice was a significant factor” in the accident that killed nine people and injured 38.

In addition, bus driver Haeng Kyu Hwang was rested at the time of the Dec. 30 crash, according to Mark P. Scheer, an attorney representing Mi Joo Tour & Travel.

“Mr. Hwang had approximately 7½ hours of sleep,” Scheer said in a statement Wednesday night, and “had been on the road for approximately 2½ hours … with a rest stop during that time. Mr. Hwang was in good health and he does not use alcohol or tobacco. There is no evidence to suggest that drugs or alcohol played any role in this accident.”

The accident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Oregon State Police.

For the complete Los Angeles Times story, go here.

Local News

Oregon bus crash victims have local ties

spanawaySPANAWAY — As the name of the victims in the Oregon bus crash that killed nine people and injured 29 others are slowly released, many are found to have local ties.

A 57-year-old man from Spanaway was one of the nine people killed in Sunday’s fatal bus crash near Pendleton, Ore., and his wife was one of the 29 injured who remained hospitalized from the crash, authorities said Tuesday. Another couple, Oun Hong Jung, 67, and his wife, Joong Wha Kim, 63, from Korea died in the crash Sunday. They were reportedly staying with relatives in Bothell, Wash.

On Tuesday, the medical examiner in Oregon identified one of the dead victims as Dale Osborn, 57, of Spanaway. Osborn’s wife, Darlene, 65, is in the hospital. The Osborns were returning from a vacation.

Many remember Dale and Darlene Sue Osborn as happy and inseparable. “They were always together you know they were great people,” said a neighbor.

The crash is tied for the second deadliest traffic crash in Oregon since 1946, and the deadliest since 1971.

A couple of years ago, the Osborns moved from Colorado and bought a home in the Lakeside Terrace Mobile Home Park in Spanaway.  The news of Dale’s death traveled quickly to the mobile home park tenants.

The horrific crash that killed Dale also injured his wife, who was thrown from the bus after it slid off an icy Interstate 84 and through a guardrail. The bus plunged 200 feet down a snowy embankment.

“People screamed and yelled; some mothers screamed to find their son or daughter,” said survivor Jaemin Seo.

Forty-nine people, mostly Korean tourists, were on the bus. On Tuesday, Dan Uhm told Q13 Fox News his elderly mother from Lynnwood is one of the survivors. The 74-year-old woman was the last to be rescued from the bus.  Eun Sook Uhm was transported to Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday in stable condition.

Mi Joo Tour and Travel in Vancouver, B.C., operates the bus.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Oregon State Police are working closely with the Korean Consulate during the next of kin notification process. OSP continues to release property, including most of the passports and other identification, found at the scene.

On Wednesday, four injured persons remained in St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton in fair condition. Meanwhile, the mobile home community is hoping Darlene Osborn will be back home soon and back to the chores she so loved to do.

“Hardest working gal you ever want to see,” said tenant Kenneth Hughes.

The Osborns had been renovating the mobile home park, planting trees and fruits. “Nice guy, really good grandfather,” said Hughes.

Family members said that some on the bus were voicing concerns over the icy roadway right before the crash.  Investigators will be looking into the bus driver to see if played any role in causing the crash.

Among those injured were Choon-Sook Yang, 67, of Issaquah, who was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash; and Man Sun Kim, 71, of Seattle, who was taken to the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. The extent of their injuries was not immediately released.

BusPENDLETON, ORE. – A charter bus crashed through a guardrail and went down an embankment about 200 feet Sunday morning on I-84 east of Pendleton.

According to Oregon State Police, nine are dead, and 18 people were transported to an area hospital. More patients were being transported while rope teams worked to retrieve people from the accident scene.

An icy, snowy roadway is being cited as a possible factor as to why the charter bus lost control near milepost 227 on Interstate 84 as it was heading westbound, KPTV reported.

All 39 survivors on board the buses were taken to the hospital.

The stretch of road is called Cabbage Hill, but Oregon State Police said it’s also known as “Deadman Pass,” KPTV said. Truck drivers have been warned by the state’s Department of Transportation about the area’s extreme hills and treacherous winter weather conditions.

“I’ve been a firefighter for 20 years and this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” firefighter Steve Brost told KPTV.

The bus was carrying foreign exchange students from South Korea, who are living with host families in Vancouver, B.C., and northwest Washington.

Police said the bus was returning to British Columbia from a trip to Las Vegas when it crashed. The bus belongs to Mi Joo Tour and Travel out of Vancouver, B.C., according to investigators.

The company did not provide a comment when contacted by KPTV.

The Red Cross set up a shelter at the Pendleton Convention Center Sunday evening. The organization was paying for hotels for the survivors who were released from the hospital.

One survivor at the shelter described the situation after returning from the hospital. The bus driver survived the crash.

“Me and my brother got out of the bus and we saw many people spread in the snow,” he told KPTV. “We find some people who alive, who died.”

Many of the people who were onboard the bus do not speak English and crews contacted a Korean translator in Pendleton for assistance.

Additionally, three fixed wing medical aircraft were being mobilized in order to transport patients to out-of-area hospitals.