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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Bus waste victims suing Greyhound

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An Ottawa County family has learned the hard way that getting behind a passenger bus on an interstate highway can be dangerous to one's health.

Robert and Angela Stokes of Graytown are suing Greyhound Lines Inc. in Lucas County Common Pleas Court over a load of human waste one of its buses released on their sport utility vehicle as they were on I-75 in Toledo on a spring day in 2005.

The waste from the bus' sanitary tank went through the open windows and sunroof of their 2002 Ford Explorer, contaminating the outside and inside of the SUV and drenching the occu-pants, including their son, 9, and daughter, 10.

The Stokes, who were covered with urine, feces, toilet paper, and human waste, were returning home after celebrating Mother's Day on May 8, 2005, at a Toledo restaurant.

According to a police report, Mr. Stokes was merging onto northbound I-75 from the Willys Parkway entrance ramp and got wedged in traffic behind the bus. The Greyhound then dumped its load.

"My client was driving in heavy traffic. They had nowhere to go. What can you do?'' Robert Bryce, an attorney for the family, said yesterday.

Despite being covered with waste, Mr. Stokes followed the bus to obtain its identification information and license plate number. His wife relayed the information to a 911 operator by cell phone, Mr. Bryce said.

Also in the vehicle was the Stokes' son, Thomas Groll, 22, who also is named as a plaintiff in the complaint that was filed Friday. The Stokes and Mr. Groll are seeking unspecified punitive damages from Greyhound and compensation to pay for expenses incurred by the plaintiffs for medical treatment and testing for infectious diseases.

Mr. Bryce said the Stokes' vehicle was declared a total loss by their insurance company because the stench and filth couldn't be removed, even though the interior was steam-cleaned several times.

Anna Folmnsbee with Greyhound headquarters in Dallas said company policy would not allow her to comment.



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