S.J. woman files suit in deadly Megabus crash

An 18-year-old from Voorhees and a 19-year-old Temple University student were among the four who died when a Megabus headed to Toronto slammed into a bridge. (Associated Press)

A South Jersey woman has filed suit after suffering severe head injuries last month in an Upstate New York bus crash that killed four people.

Candice Burks, of Mount Laurel, was one of 28 passengers aboard a double-decker Megabus that was traveling from Philadelphia to Toronto on Sept. 11.

About 2:30 a.m., driver John Tomaszewski missed an exit to the Syracuse bus station and doubled back. Police said he was looking at a personal GPS device when he plowed the 13-foot bus into a railroad bridge with only an 11-foot clearance.

There were about a dozen signs and flashing yellow lights leading up to the bridge that warned vehicles of the height restrictions.

"When you have a bus going at full speed and it just stops on a dime like that you're going to have people who are badly injured," said Burks' attorney Shanin Specter.

Burks, 26, suffered head, neck and back injuries. The aftermath has left the Subaru worker with "significant cognitive impairments" and problems with attention and memory, the attorney said.

Specter, of Kline and Specter P.C., said the full extent of the injuries to his client and others may not be known for months.

"Brain injuries and impairments can last for a lifetime and you just don't know after an accident how a person could end up," he said.

The negligence suit, filed Friday in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, seeks more than $50,000 and is believed to be the first in the wake of the crash. It names Tomaszewski, of Yardville, N.J. and two New Jersey-based bus companies, Coach USA of Paramus and Olympic Trails Bus Co. of Elizabeth.

Tomaszewski could not be reached for comment Friday. The president of Coach USA, Dale Moser, said he had not yet seen the complaint.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.