Brothers Injured in Pennsylvania Turnpike Crash File Suit Against Tour Bus Company

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Two brothers filed suit today against Z&D Tour, Inc., seeking compensatory and punitive damages related to a Jan. 5, 2020 bus crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that severely injured them, along with dozens of other passengers, and claimed five lives.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, alleges negligence, negligent hiring and other claims in violation of Pennsylvania laws and rules and regulations set by the Pennsylvania Highway Department. Motley Rice New Jersey LLC and The Potts Law Firm represents the brother, Anthony and Quwanjay Ellis, both of New Jersey.  

The brothers were traveling from New York to Ohio on the tour bus. Quwanjay was seated directly behind the bus driver, and his brother Anthony was seated nearby in the front row of the passenger side. Quwanjay alleges that prior to the crash the bus appeared to be exceeding a safe speed and he saw the driver leaning and attempting to steer the bus toward the left as it descended a slope on Interstate 70-76 near Pennsylvania’s Mount Pleasant Township. The bus suddenly veered from the travel lanes toward the median and onto the paved left shoulder according to the complaint. Quwanjay recalls hearing several passengers scream, immediately followed by the driver jolting the steering wheel sharply to the right, the suit alleges. The bus crossed all lanes as it traveled onto the right shoulder. The bus then crashed onto a steep embankment, rolled onto its passenger side and slid to a stop while stretched diagonally across the westbound lanes and shoulders with its underside facing oncoming traffic. Multiple passing vehicles struck the tour bus, including FedEx and UPS trucks.

Anthony Ellis was thrown through the front window in the crash. He sustained a broken neck, shoulder and collarbone, and head and collar area lacerations with significant scarring. He underwent surgery and was required to have metal plates inserted into his shoulder and collarbone. He is currently unable to walk and is undergoing physical therapy at a rehabilitation center. Quwanjay Ellis managed to crawl through the front window of the bus following the crash.  He suffered injuries to his right elbow and hand, both feet, and his chest.

In all, 60 people were injured in the crash, including 59 of the 61 passengers, and the co-driver of the FedEx truck. The tour bus driver, two passengers, and the driver and co-driver of the UPS truck were all killed.

“When Quwanjay and Anthony Ellis bought their tickets, they, like all the other passengers onboard, trusted Z&D Tours with their lives, and they trusted that the company hired and trained a driver who would operate the vehicle in a competent manner to safely see them to their destination,” said Motley Rice attorney for the brothers, Daniel R. Lapinski. “We believe Z&D Tours failed to uphold its end of the bargain and people were seriously injured and lives were lost because of it. While Quwanjay and Anthony were lucky to survive, they will never be the same. Quwanjay continues to suffer nightmares and emotional trauma from the horrors he saw that day. Anthony’s entire world has been upended. He was traveling to Ohio for work, and now it’s uncertain if he’ll ever be able to walk again. Through this lawsuit, the Ellis brothers hope to hold Z&D accountable for its alleged actions and failures that precipitated this tragedy.”        

The case is Anthony Ellis and Quwanjay Ellis v. Z&D Tour, Inc. and John Does 1-10 in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Essex County.

Read the complaint.

About Motley Rice LLC

Motley Rice is one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms. With a tradition of representing those whose rights have been violated, Motley Rice attorneys gained recognition for their pioneering asbestos lawsuits, their work with the State Attorneys General in the landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and their representation of 9/11 families in the ongoing lawsuit against terrorist financiers. The firm continues to handle complex litigation in numerous areas, including securities fraud; antitrust; consumer protection; mesothelioma; environmental contamination; prescription and over-the-counter drugs; other medical devices; human rights; aviation disasters; and wrongful death. Motley Rice is headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and has additional offices in Connecticut; Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Missouri; Rhode Island; and West Virginia. For more information, contact Motley Rice attorney Daniel R. Lapinski (NJ, NY, PA) at 1.800.768.4026 or visit Motley Rice LLC, a South Carolina Limited Liability Company, is engaged in the New Jersey practice of law through Motley Rice New Jersey LLC. Esther Berezofsky is the attorney responsible for New Jersey practice. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.