Bus Company and Driver Sued in FAMU Hazing Death

Bus Company and Driver Sued in FAMU Hazing Death

The family of the member of the marching band killed in an alleged assault by fellow students charges bus driver and company with negligence.

Published February 15, 2012

The family of a member of the marching band killed in a hazing incident at Florida A&M University has sued the bus company that was involved in the death of the student, charging the bus driver with negligence.

The suit was filed by the family of Robert Champion, the member of the Florida A&M Marching 100 band who was killed last year.


The suit alleges that the company, the Fabulous Coach Lines, and its driver consented to the hazing acts undertaken by Chapman’s fellow band members and that they knowingly participated in the assault and other acts of brutality over an extended period of time.

According to court papers, the suit also alleges that the bus and its air conditioning system were running at the time Champion was beaten and that the bus driver was standing guard at the door to prevent anyone from entering or exiting the vehicle.

The lawsuit also claimed that when Champion stepped off the bus at one point to vomit, the bus driver told him "he would be alright as she forced him back onto the bus."

Last month, Fabulous Coach Lines President Ray Land said that the company's drivers, who were not on the bus at the time of the hazing, responded quickly after learning there was an emergency. Land said that the driver even followed the ambulance transporting Champion to the hospital, taking other band members there.

The university, a public institution in Tallahassee, has been rocked by the hazing-related death of Champion, the drum major on the school’s marching band. Also, in unrelated incidents, four members of the university’s renowned Marching 100 band were arrested on hazing-related charges.

Earlier this month, Florida A&M announced that it was establishing an outside committee of experts to help develop solutions to hazing, which caused the death of a student band member last fall. Following that, the school dismissed four students who were accused of non-related hazing activities within the band.

The anti-hazing committee consists of seven members with diverse professional backgrounds. The committee will be chaired by Stephen Craig Robinson, a former federal judge, United States attorney and former attorney for the FBI.

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(Photo: AP/File)

Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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