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Parents sue trucking company in Oklahoma bus crash

The parents of a 19-year-old softball player injured in a bus crash in last month filed a negligence lawsuit Tuesday against a trucking company and one of its drivers.

Rachel Hitt of Scurry was hospitalized and suffered “serious personal injuries” after an 18-wheeler driven by Russell Staley of Saginaw veered across an Interstate 35 median in Oklahoma on Sept. 26 and slammed into the side of the bus she was riding in with 15 teammates, killing four.

The team from North Central Texas College in Gainesville was traveling home from a game in Bethany, Okla.

Dallas-based attorney Frank L. Branson filed the suit on behalf of Hitt in a Tarrant County District Court against Tennessee-based Quickway Transportation and Staley.

The suit asks a jury to determine a “fair amount of compensation” for Hitt’s injuries, which the suit sets at more than $1 million.

Staley, 53, told investigators that he got distracted when he reached for a drink and missed a right-hand curve on northbound I-35. His rig traveled across a grassy median, hit the southbound bus and continued off the roadway where it crashed into a tree.

Three women died at the scene, and the fourth died at a hospital in nearby Sulphur, Okla. They were Meagan Richardson, 19, of Wylie; Brooke Deckard, 20, of Scurry; Katelynn Woodlee, 18, of Windom; and Jaiden Pelton 20, of Telephone.

NBC 5 reported that Deckard’s parents filed a separate suit against Quickway and Staley in a Tarrant County court Tuesday seeking more than $1 million in damages.

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