2 Seton Hill lacrosse players sue over bus crash that killed coach
Two more Seton Hill University lacrosse players who were injured last year in a bus crash along the Pennsylvania Turnpike that killed their pregnant coach and bus driver have filed suit against a Somerset County bus company.
Players Abigail Shaughness of New Windsor, Md., and Siiri Mason of Oxford, Mich., who sued Mlaker Transportation Inc. of Davidsville, are seeking unspecified damages.
The players allege they suffered multiple injuries and concussions in the March 16 crash and continue to suffer “mental pain,” “embarrassment” and “humiliation” as a result of the accident.
The university's lacrosse coach, Kristina Quigley, 30; her unborn son, Jackson Patrick; and bus driver Anthony M. Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown died in the accident. A number of the 20 others on the bus — 19 students and an assistant coach — were injured.
The separate four-page lawsuits filed in Allegheny Common Pleas Court claim that Guaetta failed to keep the charter bus under proper control and was negligent and reckless in its operation.
“Mr. Guaetta was inattentive, distracted, repeatedly drove on the right shoulder of the highway and failed to keep the vehicle under proper control” when it crashed into a tree along the toll road in Cumberland County, the lawsuits allege.
At the time of the crash, Shaughness was a junior and Mason a sophomore on the team, according to its roster. Both are represented by attorneys Shanin Specter and Braden Lepisto of Kline and Specter in Philadelphia, who also represent another lacrosse player. Amanda Michalski, 19, a freshman from Coon Rapids, Minn., filed a civil lawsuit seeking unspecified damages and medical expenses last spring. Michalski suffered extensive injuries and was hospitalized for several weeks in Hershey Medical Center.
In October, the estate of Kristina and Jackson Quigley of Baltimore filed a civil lawsuit in Allegheny County seeking unspecified damages against Guaetta's estate and the bus company.
The lawsuit was filed by Quigley's husband, Glenn, and her 3-year-old son, Gavin, according to court documents. That lawsuit maintains Guaetta was negligent and there were signs he was having trouble during the trip.
“While proceeding to transport his passengers to a lacrosse game at Millersville University, Anthony M. Guaetta, repeatedly left the roadway with the bus and repeatedly hit the rumble strips along the side of the highway, awaking numerous lacrosse players who had been sleeping. Anthony M. Guaetta did not ask for a replacement driver and did not pull the bus over and park it after having to back it up on the highway due to missing a turn,” the lawsuit alleges.
In addition to pain and suffering through the loss of two lives, that lawsuit seeks damages for support and earnings Quigley made and would have continued to make throughout her life ... “for the loss to the widower of consortium, society comfort, companionship and direction ... for loss to minor child of companionship, comfort, society guidance, tutelage, moral upbringing,” the lawsuit states.
The Quigleys' lawsuit was filed by attorney John Linkosky of Carnegie.
The bus company did not return calls seeking comment.
In December, state police said an eight-month investigation determined Guaetta may have suffered a medical emergency before the crash.
Trooper Robert Hicks said physical evidence indicates that Guaetta was unconscious when the bus crashed at 8:50 a.m. Speed was ruled out as a factor in the crash and no mechanical defects to the bus that would have contributed were found.
“All of the physical evidence is consistent with that of a crash involving an unconscious driver,” Hicks said.
The bus veered off the eastbound lanes of the turnpike and hit a call box and a guardrail before smashing into a tree, about one mile east of the Carlisle interchange.
Hicks said a reconstruction of the crash showed the bus driver made no attempt to brake and the tires were “freely rolling” the entire time the bus veered off the highway.
Evidence showed that the rear tires tracked on the tire marks of the front tires, “which indicates that there was no attempt by the driver to steer,” Hicks said.
That information, paired with an autopsy report, led investigators to conclude that Guaetta fell unconscious.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Defense can see, not copy tape, Westmoreland County judge rules
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- Belle Vernon girls showed signs of being abused, doctor testifies
- Derry Area board plans vote on device use policy
- Reputed leader of motorcycle gang returned to Pa. to face charges
- Trio holds up Penn couple at gunpoint in home
- 2 escape injury when plane slides into Westmoreland County airport
- Videotaping suspect from Greensburg doesn’t show at hearing
- Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Community Chamber of Commerce to honor Arnie’s pal ‘Doc’
- Hempfield approves prison site subdivision
- Yukon kennel founder jailed for allegedly threatening workers