Lawsuit filed in fatal Normal West school bus crash

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UPDATE: Jim Ginzkey is representing Kathy Crabtree. Ginzkey says she filed the lawsuit, in part, to keep the girls on that bus out of the spotlight. He adds, “She is doing this for all the right reasons. Meaning, she’s not going after the money for her own sake.”

Ginzkey says they decided to file this suit looking for answers. “One of the big questions is how in the world the semi truck driver ended up driving the wrong way on the interstate at night. It’s baffling to understand how that could happen,” explains Ginzkey. He believes this lawsuit will enable the state to subpoena the trucking company to find out all information possible. He adds that the truck may have had GPS or dash cam technology, and that’s part of what they’re after.

The driver of the truck, Ryan Hute, also died in the crash. “He’s got a surviving wife and three young boys. We cannot try to take anything from his surviving widow or children,” explains Ginzkey. The suit can, however, go after insurance money. Peoria County coroner Jamie Harwood performed the autopsy on Hute. He says the toxicology results found the driver had zero drugs or alcohol in his system.

Ginzkey went on to say Crabtree plans to start a scholarship foundation in her late husband’s honor called “Live Like Charlie” in the event they win the lawsuit. Others involved in the crash have reached out with interest of joining Crabtree in the lawsuit, according to Ginzkey.

Coach Steven Price is out of the hospital and his family told a school official he is improving every day. Bus driver Mark Kuhn is still in the hospital.


BLOOMINGTON, lll. (WEEK) — The wife of one of the people killed in a fatal bus versus semi crash on Interstate 74 last month is suing the trucking company and estate of the deceased trucker for damages.

Kathleen Crabtree, the wife of Normal West basketball volunteer Charlie Crabtree, is suing Iowa-based Jason Farrell Trucking and the estate of trucker Ryan Hute for damages in excess of $50,000, plus the cost of the suit.

The lawsuit alleges Hute was driving his semi eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-74 near Downs, causing the head-on collision.

The lawsuit said Jason Farrell Trucking should have known that Hute had “a particular unfitness for his position as a driver so as to create a danger of harm to third persons.”

Crabtree and Hute both died in the Dec. 5 crash. Normal West junior varsity basketball coach Steve Price and bus driver Mark Kuhn were both seriously injured in the crash. The girls on board the bus have since returned to play.



Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

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