Education | Law

Widow awarded $1.9M for Bureau of Indian Affairs school bus crash

Riverside Indian School is Bureau of Indian Education institution in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Photo: Riverside Indian School

An Oklahoma woman has won a $1.9 million judgment in connection with a fatal accident involving a Bureau of Indian Affairs school bus.

Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti determined that the federal government was responsible for the March 2014 incident in which Rodney Carroll, 61, lost his life. Diana Carroll's late husband was helping a fellow motorist whose car ran off the road during an ice storm when the bus struck that car.

"In summary, upon consideration of all of the evidence admitted during the trial of this case, the court finds plaintiff has proven by the preponderance of the evidence that Laughter Smith was negligent, and such negligence was the proximate cause of the collision that resulted in Rodney James Carroll’s death," DeGiusti wrote in the April 27 decision.

Laughter Smith was driving the bus for the Riverside Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Education institution, at the time of the accident. Although the judge said he was negligent, the federal government is responsible for the $1.9 million award, The Oklahoman reported.

Smith works as the residential life manager at Riverside, the paper said. He is a certified commercial driver in Oklahoma, according to the court decision.

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Widow awarded nearly $2 million for traffic death involving her husband (The Oklahoman 5/7)