A Weston County mother is suing Teton County School District No. 1 for negligence after a school bus driver ran into her son in the fall of 2017.
Court documents say Rick Walsh, a resident of Natrona County, was riding his motorized bicycle on Oct. 4, 2017, in Casper when he was hit by driver Kelsey Clark, an employee of the school district at the time and to this day. The two collided when Clark turned left as Walsh was riding through the intersection.
The lawsuit alleges that in making the left-hand turn Clark ignored the traffic signal, failed to signal his own turn, failed to look for oncoming traffic and failed to yield the right of way to Walsh — “causing the school district bus to strike Mr. Walsh and his motorized bicycle.”
Despite that, Clark wasn’t cited in the accident. In court documents lawyers for the school district deny all allegations of negligence.
When the law office of McKellar, Tiedeken & Scoggin in Cheyenne was reached by phone Tuesday, it had no comment on behalf of the school district. Clark could not be reached by press time.
The bus was in Casper for an activity trip, and there were no students on the bus at the time of the incident.
According to the complaint, Walsh “suffered serious and life-threatening injuries that have required hospitalizations, surgeries and full-time assisted living care. He is permanently disabled and has suffered significant traumatic brain injury.”
The lawsuit states that Walsh now lives in a group home and requires 24-hour care. His mother, Jacqueline Willis, has been legally appointed conservator and guardian of her 57-year-old son.
The case is filed in Teton County District Court because the school district is a local governmental entity here. Attorneys for Walsh and his mother are asking for at least $1 million in damages. The vehicular personal injury suit’s pretrial conference is set for Sept. 5, and the plaintiff’s attorney Bob Schuster estimated the trial might begin in January 2020.
“It’s a serious case,” Schuster said. “Our jury system is the best legal system in the world, and the jury will look at it and give us justice, I believe.”