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Months after a school bus damaged her car, Chicago woman left with $800 in repairs

Months after a school bus damaged her car, Chicago woman left with $800 in repairs
Months after a school bus damaged her car, Chicago woman left with $800 in repairs 03:04

CHICAGO (CBS) – A school bus coming to pick up Chicago Public School kids hit some cars. The driver didn't stop, and instead continued on his route.

The owner of one of the cars hit is not only angry, she was left with paying the damage. She is worried for the safety of others.

CBS 2's Sara Machi had the story.

Lilian Beal said she was inside Carrie Jacobs Bond Elementary School for a conference on Sept. 8 when people ran inside talking about a bus that had hit some cars. They told her as the bus was heading to the school, the driver turned the corner damaging two cars. Then she looked at her own car and realized she'd been hit too.

But when she tried to get the bus to stop, she was horrified.

"Waving, and saying 'Hey! Hey!'" Beal recalled saying. "You know like that. 'You hit my car!'"

It's been several months since Beal said the bus swiped her car.

"I take pride in my car," she said. "It had never been scratched, never done anything to it. I was so angry."

Beal was left with a stack of paperwork, and a series of photos, showing what was left behind: a damaged paint job, punctured wheel, and hundreds of dollars in bills.

What's worse than that, is her fear for others.

"When a child came and got on the bus, he drove off," she said. "So how is that safe for the children with Sunrise Bus Company?"

She said when she saw the damage, the bus was still at the school, picking up a student, so she and others tried to flag him down.

"People were yelling, 'Hey. Hey. Stop. Stop,'" she said. "And he didn't."

But Beal said the driver ignored them.

Beal filed a police report, reached out to her insurance, and she said she's on the hook for her $500 deductible and the $333 she forked out for a new tire.

"That's like over $800 that I had to spend for an accident that wasn't my fault," Beal said.

She tried to contact the bus operator, Sunrise Bus Company.

"They said they were transferring me to claims, and somebody would get back to me," Beal said. "And they never did."

CBS 2 called Sunrise Bus Company repeatedly on Thursday and Friday, leaving messages, even visiting the company's depot in Auburn Gresham, only to be told to leave another message.

Sunrise is a contractor, working with CPS for students in the area. Beal said she knows there were at least two other cars damaged by the same bus that hit her. She wonders about the safety of everyone else.

"He's driving around the city with people's children," Beal said. "And that is terrible. I would not want that to be my kid getting on the bus."

CBS 2 reached out to CPS about the incident. They couldn't give any information about what happened or whether Sunrise had notified them, but they said they are working to get back with more information.

In a statement, CPS said it "prioritizes the safety of our students and staff. Student Transportation Services does not have an incident report for this accident as children were on board."

Vendors are not required to file an incident report with the district if no student or bus aide was involved or onboard the bus during an accident.

The status of the bus driver is unknown.

The insurance company is no longer trying to get Beal the money from Sunrise. She said the next step is to contact a lawyer.

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