COVINGTON — The father of two of the children who were injured in an accident involving two Newton County school buses that sent 40 children to the hospital has filed a class-action lawsuit against the school system.
Jimmy Coglianese, the father of Olivia and Angelina Coglianese, filed the suit on June 12 on behalf of his daughters and “all others similarly situated.”
The named defendants are Newton County School Board members Jeff Meadors, Eddie Johnson, Shakila Henderson-Baker, Almond Turner and Abigail Coggin, and former Superintendent Gary Mathews.
The suit claims that the school district was “negligent in causing the collision, either directly or vicariously through its bus driver.”
The accident occurred on Jan. 22 when the driver of one of the buses, Gloria Inscore, of Covington, ran into the back end of another bus that was stopped to unload passengers on Ga. Highway 162 near Rocky Plains Elementary School.
Forty elementary school students, all with minor injuries, and the other bus driver were taken to Newton Medical Center and Rockdale Medical Center as a result of the accident. Inscore was taken to Atlanta Medical Center and was cited by the Georgia State Patrol for following too closely. The Newton County School Board terminated Inscore in February.
In the lawsuit, Coglianese, through his attorney, Salvatore Serio of Conyers, alleges that the Board of Education is liable in the accident because it is responsible for the proper maintenance of the school buses; for hiring, training and maintaining proper drivers; and for the overall operations of the Newton County Board of Education.
“Its negligence is a proximate cause of the collision,” the suit states.
Coglianese is seeking class-action status so that anyone who was riding in either bus and injured as a result of the wreck can be named as a plaintiff and seek compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Serio said on Wednesday that no member of the school board has yet filed an answer to the complaint. A spokesperson for the Newton County School System did not respond to a request for comment by the Citizen by press time Wednesday.