Canyon County

Nampa family seeks $1.2 million for child injured by school bus last spring

The family of a Nampa 7-year-old who was hit and severely injured by a school bus in March has filed a nearly $1.2 million claim against the school district, the city and Brown Bus Company.

Connor Wright’s mother, Vinisha Wright, seeks $190,000 to cover her son’s medical expenses plus $1 million for “noneconomic damages” and an undisclosed amount for medical expenses not yet identified. Before a plaintiff can file a lawsuit against a governmental entity, a tort claim must be filed and reviewed by the entity’s insurer.

The claim, dated Aug. 19, also names bus driver Alice Merritt as a defendant, claiming she failed to see or yield to the young pedestrian, who was 7 years old at the time of the accident. And it alleges the other defendants were negligent in hiring, training and supervising the 75-year-old driver.

Merritt was placed on paid leave pending the results of the investigation, police said last spring, and no charge has been filed against her in connection with the accident. A search of Idaho court records Tuesday found no criminal charges or traffic offenses against Merritt.

The tort claim contends that Merritt’s age made her unfit to drive a school bus.

“Defendants had a duty to ensure that Alice Merritt’s eyesight, reflexes, and ability to operate such a large vehicle would not foreseeably cause risk to the general public, and more specifically, to Connor,” the claim states.

The bus driven by Merritt hit Connor Wright the morning of March 17 while he walked to Centennial Elementary School with his older brother. The boy was in an unmarked crosswalk at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Beechwood Drive, police said. No children were aboard the bus when the crash occurred, police said.

The family alleges the bus driver slowed down for Connor’s brother to cross but failed to see the younger boy following his brother, the tort claim states.

Connor suffered many injuries, including a broken thigh and upper arm, pelvic and skull fractures, severe traumatic brain injury and a ruptured spleen, the claim states.

A GoFundMe account set up at the time of the crash raised $2,625 to help Connor’s family with medical expenses. The last update on the page, five months ago, celebrated that Connor was awake and “making a valiant effort” toward recovery.