The families of seven youths from the greater Long Beach area have filed a $7-million lawsuit in Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield claiming that their children sustained severe personal injuries and great pain and suffering as a result of a July bus crash that left two dead and 39 injured.
In all, 36 children and six adults were aboard a church bus headed from Long Beach to Quaker Meadow Camp, 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield in the Sierra Nevada, last summer when it careened off twisting California 155 and crashed down a 50-foot embankment, rolling over at least once. Bus driver Craig Esterly of Monterey Park told police that the air brakes on the 11-year-old bus failed on a curve and he lost control.
According to Bakersfield attorney David Cohn, the plaintiffs are Jaime Javier Luzanilla, 16, of Long Beach; Frank Jose Bejarano, 13, of Long Beach; Antonio Macias, 13, of Long Beach; Mark K. Jones, 14, of Lynwood; and brothers Salvador, Jose and Saul Tapia of Long Beach, ages 14, 13 and 12 respectively. They are suing the California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church in Whittier, the Rev. Billy Lewis, Esterly and Darrell Nordyke, a church member responsible for bus repairs.