PACE suburban bus has reached a settlement with the family of Brenda Burse, who tragically lost her life in a fatal crash during the summer of 2021. The family will receive $13 million, an amount that attorneys say could have been prevented if proper measures were taken to ensure the safety of passengers.
The incident occurred on August 15, 2021, when Brenda Burse was a passenger on a Pace bus driven by Joe Mckee. According to attorneys Marc Taxman and Sean Murray, McKee fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree, resulting in Burse’s untimely death.
To make matters worse, the attorneys allege that McKee had a history of sleep apnea and had been involved in prior incidents that should have barred him from driving a Pace bus. Despite this knowledge, McKee was still allowed to operate a Pace bus, placing the lives of passengers at risk.
Following the incident, McKee admitted to police that he had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, further highlighting the negligence that led to the tragedy.
The settlement not only compensates the family for their loss but also serves as a warning to transportation companies to prioritize the safety of passengers. “I’m looking forward to seeing that they take it very seriously when it comes to individual lives,” said Amelia Burse, Brenda Burse’s daughter. “Safety does matter, and a lot of rules and regulations should be changed for employees.”
In addition to the financial settlement, Pace and SER (the company that provides transportation services for individuals with disabilities) admitted their responsibility in the case, which is a rare occurrence in civil liability cases.
Attorney Marc Taxman emphasized the significance of this admission, saying, “Very seldom in a civil liability case does it end with an admission of liability by the defendant. They will avoid that at all costs, and Pace and SER admitted their responsibility in this case.”
The tragedy that claimed Brenda Burse’s life should serve as a reminder to all transportation companies to prioritize the safety of their passengers. The hope is that this settlement will not only compensate the family for their loss but also serve as a catalyst for change in the industry.