Family of pedestrian struck & killed by school bus files lawsuit

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Posted: May 25,2011 1:28 PM HST Updated: May 25, 2011 7:20 PM HST

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -The family of an elderly pedestrian who was struck and killed by a school bus in Waikiki last year has filed a lawsuit against the bus company and its driver.

The driver, identified as Matthew Silva, is already facing a criminal charge. Now comes a civil case, and the release of video showing the entire incident.

Alessandro and Lester Roudabush say their mother never let age slow her down. At 89 years old, she'd walk five miles every day.

"Totally alert, totally on her own, doing everything as though she was many decades younger," Rick Fried, Roudabush family attorney, said.

But Clelia Roudabush's active life came to an abrupt end on October 25, 2010. A Hale Koa Hotel security camera captured the crash that killed her.

"Here is this driver on a perfectly clear day, nice weather, 4:45 in the afternoon," Fried said. "I have no idea what he was doing."

Roudabush, a widow since 1997, had started her day like

any other.

"She had gone to the Hale Koa because her husband had been a lieutenant colonel in the Army," Fried said. "She was reading and was coming back home."

While Roudabush was crossing Kalia Road in a marked crosswalk, a Gomes school bus carrying adult passengers ran over her, crushing her legs.

People in the area rushed to her aid. She died at a hospital six hours later.

"Had to amputate both her legs above the knees. She started to go downhill after the procedure," Fried said. "They were going to have to have her on a feeding tube and a vent. She probably would have never come off it."

Fried says her two sons are devastated.

"They were shocked," he said. "It wasn't as though she was a sick person that was expected not to live. She probably would have been one of those that would have made triple digits."

The family's lawsuit alleges that the driver, Matthew Silva, was negligent in his actions, and that his employer was negligent in its supervision and training of him. The suit seeks unspecified general and punitive damages.

Gomes School Bus Service has not returned our call for comment.

"We hope, if nothing else, this will alert people because there's so many unnecessary deaths," Fried said.

Police say alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash.

The bus driver faces a charge of third-degree negligent homicide. Efforts to reach his criminal defense attorney were unsuccessful.

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