POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa – A multi-million dollar settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the family of a western Iowa teenager who died in a school bus fire in 2017.
A statement provided by the attorney for the family of Megan Klindt, who was 16-years-old when she died in a fire on the Riverside Community School District bus, says a confidential settlement has been agreed on.
Though the settlement was confidential, Iowa’s public records laws state the details of settlements like this must be made public if requested. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council requested the settlement information and shared that with Channel 13.
The settlement agreement and release shows the Klindts were paid $4.8 million.
A portion of the statement from the Klindts reads:
“No amount of money will ever bring Megan back. Megan’s family, as well as numerous witnesses and other community members, will continue to be haunted by the knowledge that her death could have easily been prevented if the numerous documented complaints and concerns of Riverside parents had been heeded by the school superintendent and transportation supervisor.”
A report from the NTSB said bus driver Donnie Hendicks’ failure to control the bus and the failure of the Riverside Community School District to provide adequate oversight over Hendricks caused the accident.
Hendricks also died in the fire.
The fire started when Hendricks accelerated, probably in an attempt to get out of the ditch. This caused the turbocharger to overload, in part because the exhaust pipe was blocked due to the position of the bus in the ditch.
Klindt’s parents filed the lawsuit claiming the district and its superintendent knew Hendricks could not perform his duties because of physical impairments.
The settlement means the trial in the case, which had been scheduled to begin on March 3rd, will no longer move forward.