The parents of a 6-year-old who died from injuries she sustained in a school bus crash have filed a lawsuit against Houston County schools and the bus driver.
The complaint, filed late Wednesday afternoon, alleges that bus driver Shalita Jackson Harris was reckless and negligent. The suit was filed in Houston County State Court by attorneys for Angelica Rose and Christopher Haynes.
Arlana Haynes, a Parkwood Elementary School first-grader, was critically injured in the Jan. 29 crash and died early the next morning at the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
Harris, 29, of Warner Robins, was charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving. She is free on bond pending trial.
Harris was driving a 2000 Bluebird school bus on Forest Park Drive when she entered a left curve too fast and began to veer to the right, police said. The bus left the roadway and rolled onto its side.
Arlana was ejected from the vehicle.
The lawsuit contends that Harris was negligent because she failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to apply the brakes in a timely and proper manner, failed to make a proper and legal left turn, was traveling too fast for conditions, and drove recklessly.
The lawsuit seeks the value of Arlana's life — an amount to be determined later — and other damages against the school system and Harris. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages of $250,000 from Harris.
"We just want to be sure we're fully protecting the rights of her parents," said David Dozier, one of the attorneys representing the family.
Beth McLaughlin, director of community and school affairs for the school district, declined comment because the litigation is pending.