Woman locked inside bus luggage hold sues company for false imprisonment

A woman is suing a bus company for false imprisonment after she was allegedly locked inside the luggage hold of one of their vehicles for 45 minutes.

Linda Rowe, a Canadian citizen based in Montreal, has launched a lawsuit against the Delaware-based Coach USA and Ontario-based Trentway-Wager Inc, in which she says that as a result of her traumatic experience, she’s “suffered serious, severe and permanent bodily injury”.

The lawsuit alleges that the incident took place “on or about May 15, 2018,” when Ms Rowe was travelling from Toronto to Montreal.

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Ms Rowe was carrying “one very large and heavy suitcase”, which she was told she had to place into the hold herself, according to the lawsuit.

As the luggage hold was already “near capacity”, Ms Rowe was forced to climb inside and make space, before pulling her luggage in.

The lawsuit said: “At this point and without any advance warning, the compartment door slammed shut causing Rowe to be trapped.”

Ms Rowe said in the lawsuit that she was trapped without windows or lights, and despite banging on the floor above and the suitcases, the bus took off with her inside.

She said that she was then forced to sit next to the diesel engine, where she had to keep slapping herself to “maintain consciousness”.

The lawsuit continued: “Luckily, Rowe had her cell phone with her and was able to reach her brother, who called the police. In turn, the police spoke with Coach headquarters and the driver. 

“Coach including the driver were told a convoy of police cars were at the ready to stop the bus and free Rowe unless Coach did so immediately.”

The lawsuit alleges that even though the company promised to stop the bus, “the bus travelled about another 30km, which took about forty-five (45), until stopping in Whitby, the next scheduled stop and presumably to maintain the bus schedule.”

While Ms Rowe was freed in Whitby, she said in the lawsuit that she received no apologies, and while she was able to continue the journey with another driver, she was threatened with being kicked off the bus when she asked for time to get a bottle of water at another stop.

Ms Rowe said in the lawsuit that she was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning and diesel fuel intoxication and required hospital treatment, including two hours in a “Hyperbaric Decompression Chamber to purge the gases from her blood system”, as a result of the incident.

Ms Rowe further alleges that she suffers “severe Post Traumatic Stress as well as migraines, weakness and nausea” to this day, which she still needs treatment for.

She is now “seeking damages in an amount in excess of One Million ($1,000,000) Dollars, plus attorneys fees, interest and costs of suit, and other such relief deemed equitable and just”.

The Independent has approached Coach USA for comment.

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