The lawyer representing the families of three victims killed in a Tennessee bus crash said the man responsible for their deaths acted like a child when he decided to text while driving.
Last December, James Davenport, of Knoxville, was driving a school bus filled with children home after classes had ended for the day. Davenport pulled out his cell phone and moments later swerved into oncoming traffic, crashing into another school bus. A teacher's aide and two girls, ages 6 and 7, were killed.
Davenport, 44, was found dead in his home last week. Police confirmed days later that the crash had been caused by distracted driving on the part of Davenport, who was sending and receiving texts at the time.
The families of the victims are now filing wrongful death lawsuits in the incident. Their lawyer, Gregory P. Isaacs, told The Huffington Post better measures should have been in place to stop an avoidable tragedy.
"Why this driver had a cell phone is an issue that I intend to address when we file our lawsuits," Isaacs said. "Why there was not specific training and oversight is remarkable."
Isaacs said public schools spend money on things like resource officers and security cameras, but don't focus on what happens when children leave the building for the day.
"Apparently at the end of the day, when those students were placed on a school bus, that level of scrutiny simply wasn't there," he said.
"This all boiled down to a driver that was poorly trained and supervised, and decided to text on his cell. He was acting as childish as the children he was transporting," Isaacs said.
Sharon Glasper, the mother of 7-year-old Seraya Glasper, who lost her life in the crash, said Monday that she is still wracked with pain, but forgives Davenport for his reckless mistake.
"I don't have hatred in my heart," Glasper told The Huffington Post. "Hatred is something I don't believe in. I forgive, but I can't forget that day."
Isaacs said the school bus was equipped with video of the incident, but that the SIM card was badly damaged and unreadable. The FBI is now working to repair it.
Recent studies show five seconds is the average amount of time drivers take their eyes off the road to send a text.
"Imagine driving a school bus with your eyes closed for five seconds," Isaacs said, calling it "a remarkable issue that is sure to cause a catastrophic result that could have been avoided by proper training and oversight."
Psychologist David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, told The Huffington Post that public awareness isn't enough to stop people from texting and driving. Instead, there need to be stricter laws banning devices in the car.
"[Mothers Against Drunk Driving] came in and said, 'Enough of this shit. This is not working. We need to toughen the laws and consequences,'" Greenfield said. "That's when all the drinking and driving started to slow down, and deaths slowed -- it was because the laws got stricter."
Six months after losing her little girl, Glasper said she still feels numb.
"It's a lot to take in," Glasper said. "But I'm holding up the best way Seraya would like me to hold up: She'd want me to be happy and smiling."
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