The parents of Robert Champion announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit against the owner of the bus where he was killed in a hazing incident in November.
Ray Land, owner of Fabulous Coach Lines, in a Jan. 10 interview said that his staff followed their standard procedures of transporting passengers from place to place. “Our job is not to manage individual passengers; reactions and responses among themselves. Our job is to transport them and that’s what we did,” Land said.
Champion, a Florida A&M drum major in the Marching “100,” was killed in hazing ritual called “Crossing Bus C” after the Florida Classic.
His death has been a catalyst for the transformation of the culture of FAMU’s student organizations, in regards to hazing, which has spread to a nationwide topic of discussion.
Land, in that same interview, said Champion’s death came as a surprise to him since he had personally traveled with the “100” on several occasions. “I never noticed this [hazing] to be a culture, or something that’s going on,” Land said. “If it has been going on, the students have been doing a very good job keeping this among themselves.”
Another defendant in the lawsuit is the bus driver, Wendy Millette. Land said he felt it was unfair for the Champions to sue his company, citing that the individuals responsible for their son’s death are the ones liable.
“We’re just a transportation company. We are very disappointed, that they would look to us and to our larger insurance standards and look at this as a way to be able to process this lawsuit.”
Although the Champions have filed a suit against the bus company responsible for transporting the Marching “100,” they cannot file suit against FAMU yet because of laws limiting the procedure for suing a public entity.
Land and the Champion’s attorney were not available for comment Tuesday.