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Party Bus Sued for Fatal Shooting in Santa Monica

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on November 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After a party bus evening went tragically wrong last year, numerous plaintiffs have filed suit against the party bus company and the city of Santa Monica. Plaintiffs are suing over the shooting death of De'Ommie de la Cruz, including the deceased family as well as friends that witnessed the shooting. They are seeking unspecified damages.

Fatal Party Bus Incident Near the Santa Monica Pier

On November 3, 2017, De'Ommie de la Cruz and other female passengers were on a bus operating by Lion Limousine, celebrating a friend's birthday. At about 1 AM, they asked the driver for a bathroom break. The driver complied and pulled into a parking lot near the Santa Monica pier.

Nearby were men on another party bus, who appeared to the women to be gang members. The women were reticent about de-boarding, fearing their safety, but the bus driver allegedly told them this would be the last bathroom stop of the night. Gunfire soon ensued, and de la Cruz was shot multiple times. The bus driver drove to the Santa Monica Police Station. According to the suit, the officers would not administer aid to de la Cruz. Further angering the women, they allege the police did not allowed them to use the police station restroom, and instead were told to sit on the ground, "as if they were criminals," so their photos could be taken.

Common Carrier Liability

According to the lawsuit, Lion Limousine is being sued because it is alleged they knew, or should have known, that the bus driver was incompetent or unfit to drive. Party buses, like most buses, are considered "common carriers" and must exercise a very high degree of care and diligence with regard to passenger safety. The crux of this case will likely turn on whether the driver's actions to pull over near the other bus was unreasonably negligent, as well as whether it was negligent for the bus driver to drive to the police station instead of a hospital.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a party bus, or other common carrier accident, contact a local personal injury attorney. These sorts of lawsuits can be complicated, and a legal adviser can best navigate local laws and ordinances to help you get the relief you need.

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