Parents of college hazing victim sue bus company
The parents of a Florida university drum major killed in a hazing incident plan to sue the company that owns the bus on which he died, they said on Tuesday.
Robert and Pam Champion are filing the lawsuit against Fabulous Coach Lines to force witnesses to testify under oath about what happened to their son Robert Champion Jr. on board a chartered bus last November, according to their lawyer.
Champion was killed in what the medical examiner has ruled a homicide in the course of hazing by the celebrated Florida A & M University Marching “100” band. The beating took place while the bus was parked at an Orlando hotel following a band performance at a football game. No one has been charged yet in the death.
The owner of Fabulous Coach Lines, Ray Land, said the company had done “everything in its power” to safely transport the passengers.
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“What isn’t our responsibility is the passengers getting along,” he said. “If two passengers get in a fight, that really doesn’t fall in the range of our responsibility.”
The Champion family has previously said they plan to sue the university over their son’s death, but they must wait six months before filing under state law.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Robert and Pam Champion confirmed that their son was gay, but rejected what they called “rumors” that his sexual orientation made him a hazing target.
Pam Champion said her son was defined not by his sexuality but by his leadership skills. She said he was known to reject hazing.
“Perhaps one of the motives might have been retaliatory,” she said.