David S. Jasmer
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Police say spilled coffee caused bus rollover accident

Authorities are saying that a driver distracted by spilled coffee was to blame for an accident that sent 29 people, most of them high school basketball players, to the hospital on Saturday, March 19. The 21 players were from Griffith High School in Griffith, Indiana. They, along with team officials, were on their way to Lafayette to play in a state tournament when the accident occurred.

State police say the accident location was about 30 miles from Gary, Indiana, on Interstate 65. Just after noon, they say that the 23-year-old driver who spilled her coffee tried to grab it. In the process she reportedly lost control of her car and side-swiped the bus. That caused the bus to roll over.

None of the injuries were said to be life threatening. However, all 27 people aboard the bus as well as the driver of the Kia and the passenger in her car were transported to hospitals in the area. The coach of the basketball team was airlifted to Chicago hospital. The team was back on the court, some still sporting bandages from their injuries, a few days later.

It was not reported whether the driver who hit the bus is going to face any charges. She likely can face civil liability. While most people think of texting or talking on a cellphone when they hear about distracted driving, performing any activity while driving that keeps you from focusing on the road and/or takes one of your hands off the steering wheel is also considered distracted driving. It may be a factor when bringing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver.

Source: NBC News, "29 Hospitalized After Indiana Basketball Team Bus Rollover," Elisha Fieldstadt, March 20, 2016

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