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Family of Houston County girl killed in school bus crash suing Blue Bird

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The family of 6-year-old Arlana Haynes, the girl killed two years ago in a school bus accident in Houston County, is suing bus company Blue Burd Global Corporation.

The family's representation, Beasley Allen Law Firm, confirm they've filed a lawsuit on behalf of Arlana Haynes' family. First-grader Arlana was riding the bus home from Parkwood Elementary School when the accident happened.

As the driver approached a downhill curve, attorneys say the bus's "top-heavy design" caused it to slide off the the road and roll over. Arlana was thrown from her seat, ejected through the bus door, and died hours later in the hospital.

RELATED READING: Parents want answers in fatal Houston County schools bus crash

The lawsuit alleges that Blue Bird Corporation knew its bus was unsafe, "because it was unstable and prone to rolling over due to its design." David Dozier, an attorney for the family, says Blue Bird had been fighting lawsuits over "dangerously designed" buses for years.

"Not only is their a top heaviness an issue when you are talking about a school bus, it makes it more prone for a rollover-type accident, and that's exactly the mechanism here that killed and took Arlana's life," he says.

The 12-page lawsuit not only describes how this bus accident happened, but alleges the bus parts were unreasonably dangerous and defective in that the vehicle was not suited to be operated on a road.

RELATED READING: Wrongful death lawsuit filed for Houston County first grader killed in bus crash

The lawsuit, filed on Friday, states that "Blue Bird is aware that if the vehicle were to roll over, minor children on that bus without seat belts would be violently ejected from their seats."

Haynes' mother, Angelica Rose, started speaking out just days after her daughter was killed by launching a petition to make sure school buses are required to have seat belts, especially for smaller children who ride the bus.

Shalita Jackson Harris, the woman driving the school bus at the time of the accident that killed Arlana, was sentenced in December to serve three years in prison and seven years probation. Harris was convicted of vehicular homicide in the first degree and reckless driving.

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