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New Jersey family sues school bus company after son with special needs dies from medical emergency

New Jersey family files lawsuit against school bus company after son dies from medical emergency
New Jersey family files lawsuit against school bus company after son dies from medical emergency 02:23

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- A New Jersey family is suing a school bus company claiming the life of their son could have been saved while he had a medical emergency aboard a bus.

Aaron Kizer-Goff and Jennifer Spahr, who live in Galloway Township, said the incident happened on the morning of Dec. 1, 2022.

Their son, Landon Goff, had a rare genetic neurological disorder known as Rett syndrome and used a wheelchair.

He rode a school bus with three other children, who also had special needs.

"He was happy that morning," Kizer-Goff said. "It was crazy hair-do day. He had his hair up."

Spahr added, "He was laughing. He was happy. He was smiling."

Kizer-Goff said he remembered when the school bus, operated by Sheppard Bus Service, came to pick Landon up. He said the bus driver was Landon's regular driver but the bus aide was a substitute.

"I just thought everything was normal," Kizer-Goff said. "I just said goodbye to Landon, watched him go up the lift, and that was the last time I'd see him."

The family and their attorneys, Alexa D'Amato-Barrera and Stephen Van Natten of The D'Amato Law Firm, claimed at some point during the 40-minute ride to Landon's school in Cape May Courthouse, Landon suffered a medical emergency and became unconscious.

"What we do know is that during that 40-minute drive, no one bothered to check on Landon, to use the radio, to pull over, call 911," D'Amato-Barrera said.

The family's attorneys claimed neither the driver nor the aide helped Landon during the ride or after he arrived at school.

They said once Landon arrived at school, school staff members performed CPR and called for help. He died three days later.

"Our morning went from getting our son ready for a normal bus ride to school to planning his funeral a few short days later," Spahr said. "The last year, we have been left with more questions than answers."

A year later, the family is now suing Sheppard Bus Service, accusing the company and two employees, who aren't identified in the complaint, of negligence.

"They don't want to see this ever happen to another child again or have another parent or parents go through what they've had to endure for the last year," Van Natten said.

Landon's parents said they hope the lawsuit will serve as a warning to all bus companies to always monitor the well-being of children in their care.

CBS News Philadelphia contacted the attorney for Sheppard Bus Service and she said she was still reviewing the lawsuit and couldn't comment at the moment.

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