A Canadian tour-bus company denied any wrongdoing in a Dec. 30 crash in Oregon that killed nine people and injured 39 in a response to a lawsuit submitted to the U.S. District Court of Western Washington on Wednesday.
British Columbia-based Mi Joo Tour & Travel’s lawyers had previously attributed the fatal crash to black ice and not its driver’s health but had not officially denied accusations several passengers made and a U.S. Department of Transportation investigation found: That driver Heang-Kyu Hwang was driving faster than he should have in icy weather and that he had exceeded the federal on-duty limit of 70 hours by working 92 the week of the crash.
Those accusations are specifically denied in the response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Eun Sook Uhm of Lynnwood, who is fighting for life weeks after the accident. Her rib cage and collar bones were crushed before she watched one of her friends, Yong Ho Lee of Lynnwood, die.
The defense repeatedly claims a “lack of sufficient knowledge to form a reasonable belief as to the truth of allegations” regarding many assertions made in the lawsuit complaint, including that “Mi Joo therefore, at all times, … was subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”
Several others in the crash are also suing the company with similar accusations. Tacoma lawyer Charles Herrmann said some of his clients also face lifelong injuries and medical bills.
According to Herrmann, Mi Joo’s $10 million Insurance Corporation of British Columbia policy only covers $150,000 in medical expenses per person before further liability is established in court.