Arizona State Prison Bus Accident Prompts Injury Lawsuit

Inmate Is Suing State & Several Individuals

car crash
A car behind the bus wasn’t able to stop quickly enough in the 45-mph zone. [Photo courtesy Tombstone Marshal's Office]

A collision nearly two years ago involving a passenger car and an Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC) transport bus has resulted in a negligence lawsuit filed by an inmate who claims he continues to suffer from injuries caused by the accident.

Jace R. Teague
Jace R. Teague [Photo courtesy AZ DOC]
Jace R. Teague was one of 17 inmates on the bus Dec. 12, 2017 as it traveled on State Route 80 from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Douglas to Tucson. As the bus approached Tombstone, the driver had to take evasive action to avoid a car which suddenly stopped in the westbound lane.

The bus missed that vehicle, but a car behind the bus wasn’t able to stop quickly enough in the 45-mph zone. It rear-ended the bus, sending Teague and three other inmates to Canyon Vista Medical Center for evaluation.

All four were released and returned to prison the same day, according to a DOC spokesman.

Teague is incarcerated with DOC until January 2021 for a felony drug conviction out of Maricopa County. The lawsuit contends he sustained “serious physical and emotional injury” as a result of the accident and will require future medical care. He has named the State of Arizona along with DOC’s director as defendants, as well as the bus driver, the drivers of the two cars, and the owner of one of the vehicles.

Pima County court records show the lawsuit was filed there in December 2018 but last month a judge ruled that Cochise County is the proper venue to hear the case. As a result, the file has been transferred to Judge Timothy Dickerson of the Cochise County Superior Court. A jury trial is not likely until late 2020.

According to Tombstone Marshal Bob Randall, drivers of the two passenger cars were cited for traffic violations. One person from the rear vehicle was also treated by first responders but no information is available on the extent of that person’s injuries.