Your health and safety is our priority. Video and Telephone Appointments Available. Learn More.

MTD Bus Driver Facing Manslaughter And Civil Lawsuit For Fatal Bus Crash

Posted by Denis Zilberberg
Filed in Bus Accident

Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) bus driver Aura Leticia Mijangos faces a misdemeanor manslaughter charge and a wrongful-death lawsuit after the bus she was driving slammed into a bus bench, killing 67-year-old Eve Debra Johnson instantly, and critically injuring 75-year-old Gloria Bravo De Ayala. The accident happened on Oct. 9, 2019. Mijangos was charged and named in the civil lawsuit in the summer of 2020.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or worse in a bus accident, the Santa Barbara, California bus accident attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Richards can help you get through this.

Mass Transit Turns into Tragedy

The misdemeanor manslaughter charges filed against Aura Leticia Mijangos, a 61-year-old from Goleta, state she committed “ordinary negligence” while operating the bus involved in the fatal accident on the first block of West Figueroa Street.

Eve Johnson and Gloria De Ayala were sitting on the bench waiting to board the bus when it

turned toward the bus stop, accelerated, jumped the curb, and struck them both, Killing Johnson instantly. Passengers on the bus also sustained injuries.

The investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department includes statements made by Mijangos claiming she “negligently depressed the gas pedal instead of the brake.”

The reason Mijangos was not charged with felony manslaughter came down to the degree of negligence. “Ordinary negligence” shows carelessness in preventing foreseeable harm to someone. An elevated charge of gross negligence means a person goes beyond ordinary carelessness, inattentiveness, or a lapse in judgment.

Johnson’s sister and brother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Santa Barbara MTD and Mijangos. Johnson was not married at the time of the incident and did not have any children.

The lawsuit claims her operation of the bus was negligent and caused their sibling’s death. They are seeking general and special damages, lawsuit costs and other relief deemed just and proper. They have demanded a jury trial.

The Data on Bus Accidents

Data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and cross-referenced with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells us the U.S. sees around 60,000 bus accidents each year. These collisions cause massive amounts of property damage, thousands of injuries, and hundreds of deaths.

Bus collisions are not as frequent as passenger cars, but the results are usually tragic. Research also revealed that:

  • Fatal bus crashes have declined 29%, from 2000 to 2018 while crash-related injuries have increased 15
  • More than 6,700 people were killed and more than 500,000 people were injured in bus-involved crashes from 1998 to 2019,
  • From 2012 to 2018, California had 150 fatal bus crashes, second only to New York

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Because of their size and the need for professional drivers, buses and operators have a civic responsibility to manage with care and attentiveness while on the road. Neglecting this responsibility can lead to grave consequences.

The Santa Barbara bus accident attorneys at the Law Office of John B. Richards will be by your side if you or a loved one suffer at the hands of someone else’s negligence. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 805-683-2736.


    Request Your Free Case Evaluation Now!

    By clicking submit you are agreeing to the terms and conditions

    Your Personal Details

    • Name
    • Phone No.
    • Email Address
    • Message

      Contact Us

      All fields are required.
      By clicking submit you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.