Horry County Schools and the South Carolina Department of Education have been declared defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit. Marc Chaplin died November 2, 2009 when his motorcycle collided with a school bus driven by 77 year old Michael Burns. At the time of the accident Marc was on his way to school and Burns was charged with failure to yield right of way.
Burns was found guilty of the same charge in 2007. At that time the school board had Burns complete a driver retraining program, after the accident with Marc Chaplin Burns has been placed on leave with administrative pay.
A year after the loss of their son Rodney and Cathleen have filed a lawsuit seeking $600,000 in actual damages as well as legal costs and other expenses. According to the complaint the plaintiffs feel that the defendants negligently entrusted a school bus to the man knowing that he wasn’t a competent driver. The suit also alleges that the state and the school district failed to properly ensure that the school bus was in a safe mechanical condition.
The death of Marc Chaplin while riding his motorcycle to school was a tragedy that could have been avoided if everyone else had followed basic safety and traffic rules and kept a closer eye on the people hired to drive school buses. Motorcycles are dangerous even in the best conditions, but for a school bus to cause a motorcycle accident and death is just beyond the realm of thought for any parent who allows their child to ride a school bus.