DALLAS, Texas — The family of a Seattle man who was struck and killed by a Greyhound bus in Central Point has won $20 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a statement from the family's law firm.
25-year-old Hunter Brown was headed to San Francisco on the Greyhound bus when it stopped at a gas station in Central Point on June 29, 2017. The driver began to pull away without Brown onboard, and the Seattle man was hit and killed while trying to get the driver's attention.
In December of that year, Brown's family filed a lawsuit against Greyhound for wrongful death, claiming that the company failed to provide a rested, responsible driver.
"It could have been anybody . . . because, you know, I'll bet that hundreds if not more people run after Greyhound buses every day — and the fact that the driver could see him through the door and turn the wheel toward him, it's horrifying," Brown's mother Paula Becker said at the time.
Just days later, the Jackson County District Attorney's office cleared the bus driver of any criminal charges in Brown's death.
On the day of the incident, a Central Point Police detective told NewsWatch 12 that some passengers had described Brown "banging on the bus" as the bus began to pull away, with the driver refusing to let him back on.
Almost exactly two years after the Brown family filed suit against Greyhound, a jury has now awarded them $20 million in damages after finding the Dallas-based busy company "negligent for the accident that killed their son," the family's lawyers say.
“Our son was looking forward to his future when his life ended,” Brown’s parents said in a statement. “We are grateful to the jury for seeing the horrible actions of this bus driver and the company’s irresponsibility for continuing to employ him. We hope Greyhound changes its policies to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family.”
Evidence presented at trial indicated that the driver, Aurthur Coley, may not have performed a mandatory head count of passengers before leaving the gas station that night "earlier than the stated time of departure."
"Despite that tragedy, records show Mr. Coley continued to drive for Greyhound, and he was not even reprimanded until after the lawsuit was filed," the Brown family's lawyers said. "The reprimand was only for failure to take a head count before leaving the bus stop, a violation of company policy. Mr. Coley was later fired for allegedly smashing the cell phone of a passenger who was taking a video of him being rude to other passengers."