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Published on April 18, 2024
Families Sue Truck Driver and Employer for Over $1 Million After Fatal Bastrop County Crash Involving School BusSource: Hays CISD

The tragic collision in Bastrop County involving a concrete pump truck and a school bus carrying pre-K students has resulted in multiple lawsuits against truck driver Jerry Hernandez, his employer FJM Concrete Pumping, and the company's CEO Francisco Xavier Martinez. According to CBS Austin, these legal actions include a recent filing by the parents of 33-year-old Ryan Wallace, who was killed when the truck hit his car after striking the bus.

Filed on Wednesday, Morgan and Lilia Wallace are demanding over $1 million in the lawsuit, seeking retribution for the untimely demise of their son who was merely driving behind the school bus at the time of the horrific incident. As reported by The Austin American-Statesman, the lawsuit blames Hernandez's drug use and the employer's negligence in both hiring and supervising him.

The suits assert that Hernandez had confessed to using cocaine the morning of the crash and suffered from sleep deprivation, as per the investigation findings. Hernandez, who also admitted to smoking marijuana the previous night, is now facing charges of criminally negligent homicide. A probe into Hernandez's background revealed a history of drug use, including testing positive for marijuana and cocaine, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration noting a "prohibited" status on his commercial driver’s license.

Alfredo Rodriguez and Emily Montoya, parents of 5-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya who also perished in the crash, filed a separate lawsuit. The young boy was remembered for his love of dinosaurs and was nearing the milestone of spelling the word, said Naira (Dina) Solís Shears, his pre-K bilingual teacher. While detailing the suit, The Austin American-Statesman also recounted the crushing loss of Ryan Wallace, who was weeks away from defending his doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas. "Ryan should be alive and celebrating becoming Dr. Wallace today," said Jeff Edwards, speaking for the Wallace family.

As revelations about the circumstances of the crash emerge, the families affected are calling for justice while grappling with the permanent void left by the loss of their loved ones. Diana Wallace, Ryan's sister, lamented, expressing the profound impact of her brother who was a constant presence in their lives, and the devastating reality brought forth by negligence. According to The Austin American-Statesman, she said, "We are devastated, truly." As this series of lawsuits continues to unfold, the expectation of justice weighs heavily on the hearts of those affected by the tragedy.