“Ecos tragedy” bus driver was acquitted
The Court of Santa Fe acquitted today Oscar Atamaniuk, the bus driver who was involved in the accident known as the “Ecos tragedy” three years ago, which ended with nine dead students and a schoolteacher from the school Ecos of Villa Crespo.
Atamaniuk was acquitted today “because the evidence collected doesn’t show any elements to understand that the accused violated his responsibility for looking after his passengers,” said Jorge Alberto Galbusera’s ruling, who is the judge in charge of the District’s First Instance Criminal Court of Reconquista, Santa Fe. The magistrate understood that the truck’s driver was the sole culprit, who rammed into the bus while being drunk.
The collision occurred between a truck from the company “Expreso Sarita” and a “Godoy” bus who was carrying a delegation of students, former students, and teachers from the school ECOS from Capital Federal. The truck’s driver and his co-driver died in the accident.
In addition to the criminal case that has just ended, there is another one in the civil court. The school (trip sponsor), Turismo Grupal (event organizer), Transporte Godoy (the bus company), General Urquiza (Godoy rented their bus), Expreso Sarita (truck’s owner), and their respective insurance companies, face charges.
The father of one of the dead boys, Sergio Coehn, was outraged by the ruling. He said the mechanics experts were able to show the driver’s recklessness. “He drove to the opposite lane, far from what he had to do, which was to slow down and drive to the shoulder. It’s well proven that he is as responsible as the truck drivers who were drunk,” he said.
Augusto Lasalvia, the father of another of the boys killed, said that “so much struggle without the justice’s support is useless.”
“There are experts’ reports showing that the bus’ driver wasn’t legally employed, with no psycho-physical tests, and with no driving experience to carry so many people. It seems that the judge didn’t consider those facts.”
“We’re going to appeal,” said Augusto Lasalvia.