Families of St. Ignatius hockey players sue semi driver, trucking companies over bus crash: lawyers

Truck driver Victor Santos had previous safety citations and is a registered sex offender, attorneys say

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
St. Ignatius hockey players file lawsuit over bus crash
St. Ignatius hockey players are suing a semi driver and trucking companies over a serious bus crash in Warsaw, Indiana.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The families of the Saint Ignatius hockey team members involved in a serious crash are suing the truck driver charged in the incident.

At least 16 members of the team were injured in the crash, three of them critically, in Warsaw, Indiana, on Nov. 12.

The lawsuit names the truck driver, Victor Santos, and various trucking companies as defendants. The complaint accuses them of negligence and willful and wanton disregard for the safety of the players and coaches on the bus.

Tuesday morning, some of the parents of the injured hockey players spoke out, including Wendy Cook, whose 15-year-old son, Alex, suffered facial fractures, a concussion and a seizure.

"Mom, it is really bad, it's really bad,'" parent Wendy Cook said. "And to hear that come from a 14 to 15-year-old boy was so hard to hear. Myself and another mom did not know if our boys were alive."

"He said, 'Dad, we've been hit by a truck. A lot of people are hurt,'" parent Karl D'Cunha said. "It was like a war zone. You've got these boys who were crying and shaking."

The junior varsity hockey team was returning to their hotel after a hockey tournament in Indiana when a semi-truck barreled through a red light, flipping the bus on its side.

Authorities say the truck driver, Santos, was speeding at more than 90 miles per hour and had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

"What responsible trucking company would allow this man to drive? We're going to find answers to that," said Tim Cavanagh, with Cavanagh Law Group.

Families of the 16 students injured and their two coaches filed a three-count lawsuit Tuesday saying Santos, a registered sex offender who was charged in multiple felonies and had previous safety citations, should have never been on the road

"I would never want to see that man out of jail, nor would I ever want to see him behind the wheel of any vehicle again" parent Eileen Murphy said.

With one student still in the hospital, many players are suffering from broken bones, ribs, skull fractures and other head injuries with months of recovery ahead. The emotional trauma, parents say, will last forever.

"He said, 'Dad, LJ was covered in blood and screaming, 'I'm going to die, I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die," D'Cunha said. "Weeks from now, when he has to relive that memory, what do you say?"

ABC7 reached out to the trucking companies, but has not yet received a response.

Meanwhile, several students are still not well enough to return to school and one student remains in the hospital.