Family wants more serious charges in school bus fatal accident

Karl McClendon
Karl McClendon

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The family of a man killed when a Richmond school bus collided with an SUV is speaking out. This happened back in May on Belmont Road. The family can't understand how the bus driver is only facing a traffic ticket when they had to bury their loved one.

That school bus driver is only facing a failure to yield the right of way summons. The commonwealth's attorney told NBC12 in this case, there's not enough evidence for more serious charges.

Karl McClendon's nieces fought back tears as they remembered moments of shock and then frustration.

"It's unbelievable to me how that can happen," said Detisha Gill.

McClendon died just one day after his birthday. He was riding in this SUV with his relatives. It collided with a Richmond school bus trying to get across what's been described as a busy intersection.

"The driver celebrated his 60th birthday," explained Paige Lane. "My uncle will never see that and I feel like he needs to in some form or fashion pay for what he did."

Driver Nathaniel Lewis is only facing a traffic ticket.

"We want him to understand the magnitude of what he's taken away from our family," Lane said.

More serious charges the commonwealth's attorney could consider are reckless driving and manslaughter, though neither is on the table in this case. We went to our legal expert Steve Benjamin to find out why.

"You have to have the type of conduct that we regard as a callous and conscious disregard for everyone else's safety," Benjamin explained. "You know the driver, for example, who blows through an intersection without stopping or slowing."

Prosecutors say there's no evidence of that.

The family is considering filing a wrongful death civil suit.

We've also learned Lewis stopped working for Richmond Public Schools sometime at the end of June more than a month after the wreck. A spokesperson wouldn't tell us if he was fired or made the decision to leave on his own.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.