Court denies summary disposition to bus driver allegedly guilty of gross negligence
The Estate of Ellen Cleckley sued the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation and its driver after Ellen was struck and run over by a SMART bus. The driver claimed that he did nothing wrong, however, two witnesses testified that he ignored Ellen pounding on the side of the bus, his bus climbed the curb as he turned the corner, and that it ran over Ellen in the process. SMART argued that the driver could not have been guilty of "gross negligence" sufficient to void his entitlement to governmental immunity. The high court agreed with the trial judge that a jury could base a finding of gross negligence on the testimony of the two witnesses--and that this type of credibility dispute is what jury trials are intended to address.