Attorneys for the maker of a Metro bus that collided with a Hermosa Beach-based flatbed tow truck in downtown Angeles, fatally ejecting the bus driver and killing the tow truck driver, were denied coroner's photographs of the bus driver, court papers showed today.
The daughters of bus driver Olivia Gamboa filed a wrongful death suit Sept. 23 in Los Angeles Superior Court against New Flyer, Hermosa Beach Towing and the estate of the tow truck driver, Yousef Adhami.
Lawyers for New Flyer of America Inc. said the images could help determine if Gamboa, alone at the time of the accident, was wearing a seat belt, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet denied the request in a March 20 ruling.
New Flyer's lawyers issued a subpoena to the coroner's office for the photos on Feb. 3, but were told to get a court order, the suit states. Documents from the coroner's office do not say if Gamboa had her seat belt on, according to New Flyer.
New Flyer later filed a cross-complaint against Adhami's heirs and Hermosa Beach Towing, seeking reimbursement of damages from them for any money the company might be ordered to pay the plaintiffs.
Gamboa, 47, of Montebello, died at a hospital after the collision June 12, 2013, in which she was thrown from the bus. She had driven Metro buses for 13 years, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Adhami, a 44-year-old Gardena resident, died Aug. 21 from his injuries.
The plaintiffs allege New Flyer was negligent in its design of the 2001 model vehicle Gamboa drove. The bus had faulty seatbelts and a "lack of crashworthiness," the suit states.
But the New Flyer cross-complaint blames the accident on Adhami, saying he ran a red light and was driving too fast. The company's court papers allege that Gamboa's death was tantamount to an act of vehicular manslaughter by Adhami, and that his driver's license was either suspended or revoked at the time of the 5:10 a.m. crash at 457 S. Broadway, near Fifth Street.
The cross-complaint also names several parties New Flyer has yet to identify that made component parts for the bus. The court papers state that bus was "crashworthy" and that any liability arises from problems with those parts, not the coach's design.
Gamboa -- who was just starting her route -- was alone on the bus at the time of the crash.
As a result of the collision, a fire hydrant was sheared, and the tow truck crashed into a 7-Eleven store.
--City News Service