DALLAS (AP) - A jury has awarded $10 million to the parents of one of the victims of a bus crash that
killed four members of a church youth group and the bus driver.
The Dallas County jury found that charter bus operator Eric Rockmore was negligent when he hired
Ernest Carter as a last-minute substitute driver on June 24, 2002. Jurors concluded in making the
award to Debbie and Dennis Kimmons that Carter's hiring contributed to the death of 16-year-old
Less than an hour after the bus left the church parking lot, it careened into a highway pillar near Terrell,
killing Lindsay Kimmons, 12-year-old Michael Freeman, 14-year-old Michelle Chaney, 13-year-old
Amanda Maxwell and Carter.
Rockmore had no comment on Thursday's verdict, which could be appealed.
It is unlikely the Kimmonses will collect $10 million, but Lindsay's parents said the decision gave them
some peace about who was responsible for their daughter's death, The Dallas Morning News reported
in its Friday editions.
"It just confirms all the questions I had," said Debbie Kimmons. "I wanted to know when I first came to
the attorneys (everything) from the time that bus left to the time it crashed. I wanted to know everything
and who was accountable."
Whether Rockmore's company was insured for $5 million at the time of the crash is in dispute in
another court. Rockmore has insisted he was insured; his insurance carrier argues that the policy had
lapsed. Even if he is insured, the most the Kimmonses would be able to get from Rockmore is
probably the $5 million.
Metro Church of Garland had contracted with another bus company, Green's Transportation, to provide
two buses for the church. When only one arrived, Green's contacted Rockmore, who operated
Discovery Tours of Texas, and subcontracted with Discovery to provide a substitute bus.
Carter was hired by Rockmore to drive the Discovery bus. Testimony showed Carter had been up most
of the night before and had just come back from another trip.
Last month, most of the parties who were injured and killed agreed to a $6.1 million settlement with
Metro Church and Green's Transportation.
The Kimmons family was included in that settlement and was to receive $800,000 from it, said the
family's attorney, Wes Holmes.
Testimony showed Carter had a questionable driving record and a forged medical certificate that
indicated he was fit to drive.