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Family files tort claim against county

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Claim ceiling set at $1 million

By Carol A. Clark

An attorney for the Logan Collins family has filed a Tort Claims notice indicating claims “may or will be” asserted against Los Alamos County by the deceased minor and all potential beneficiaries of his estate.

The claim asserts the county was negligent during the course of a Nov. 18, 2009 bus traffic accident that resulted in the death of the 12-year-old boy.

Attorney Jason Bowles sent the claims notice by certified mail Friday. He is with the Albuquerque law firm of Bowles & Crow.

The claims notice states, “Los Alamos County was negligent in the supervision of the child as he rode and exited the bus and was negligent for not operating the bus in a safe manner when children ride.”

Los Alamos County Attorney Mary McInerny discussed the Tort Claim during an interview Wednesday afternoon.

“The law requires that we are given notice of a Tort Claim within 90 days from when an incident occurred,” she said. “It doesn’t mean they will file but it’s a pretty good indication.”

The Collins family Tort Claims notice states the family “will seek recovery up to the limits of the Tort Claims Act caps for all claims.”

The Tort Claims Act limits the amount of money that can be claimed against a local government to

$1 million.

In the claims notice from the Collins family, the county is instructed to preserve all records, tapes, logs, computer dispatch logs, dispatch tapes, note of interviews, handwritten notes, reports and all other evidence associated with the accident, including the bus.

On Jan. 8, Atomic City Transit stopped service of all its buses with the exception of Dial-a-ride, following the investigation into the traffic accident that killed young Collins near Los Alamos Middle School.

The buses were halted Friday after a police investigation determined the bus carrying Collins had stopped at an undesignated bus stop, which is in violation of county ordinance.

Bus service resumed Monday after 200 designated bus stop signs were placed throughout the county.

The investigation determined that Collins had been a passenger on a Los Alamos County Transit Bus, driven by John K. Danforth of Los Alamos, just prior to being struck by a 2002 Chevy Avalanche driven by Rollin T. Jones of Los Alamos.

Police cited Danforth for stopping on a marked crosswalk and stopping at an undesignated bus stop. Both are violations of parking regulations.

The investigation found Collins had exited the transit bus at the intersection of Hawk Drive and San Ildefonso Road and proceeded to run in front of the bus and into the East bound lane of San Ildefonso Road.

Jones was legally passing the transit bus, according to police as he proceeded east on San Ildefonso and struck Collins as he emerged from in front of the stopped transit bus.

The investigation further revealed that Jones was traveling at the posted speed limit and had no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system as confirmed from blood tests taken immediately after the crash.

The investigation further determined that Jones would not have had sufficient time to stop or avoid Collins as he emerged from in front of the bus.  

Jones was cited for no proof of insurance and expired registration for his vehicle.

At the conclusion of the accident investigation, the county has chosen to move away from the flagging system to designated bus stops for all Atomic City Transit operations.

Attempts to reach Logan Collins’ mother Tonya Collins and Bowles for comment were unsuccessful in time for this publication.