BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The case against a church bus-driver charged in connection with the death of a young boy got underway Tuesday.
Last December, 10-year-old Darpan Niroula was hit and killed while walking home with his brother at Prospect and Rhode Island on Buffalo's west side. Attorneys for the Niroula family contend that the church bus had not been properly inspected and had safety violations.
On Tuesday, Chandra Niroula, the boy's brother, took the stand to testify before Buffalo City Court Judge Jeannette Ogden. Chandra told that court that he and his 10-year-old brother had almost reached their home when a church bus driven by Miriam Shipman struck Darpan, killing him.
Niroula family attorney Frank Bogulski said, "Miriam Shipman failed to stop the bus and then when she realized she hit the boy. The bus continued approximately four houses down because the brakes were so bad."
Shipman, represented by attorney Frank LoTempio, is contending she did not do anything wrong under vehicle and traffic laws. The attorney for the Niroula family says the van was known by her employer, Greater Works Christian Fellowship, to be in poor condition. News 4 has obtained a photo purportedly showing the brake pedal down to the floor.
"The brakes were horrible," Bogulski said. "There's many people that knew that the bus was in bad condition, and it should have never ever been on the road that day."
Darpan has been remembered as a well-adjusted child who was full of life. He and his family had came to the Queen City from a refugee camp in Nepal two years earlier in search of a better life.
His family had fled Bhutan where they say government troops were committing genocide against certain ethnic groups. Some of the nearly 2,000 refugees of Bhutan now in Buffalo came to the city courthouse to support the family.
Darpan's grieving father is calling for justice in the death of his son.
Bhutanese community spokesman Kaji Sunwar said, "These are the neighbors, and they feel pain. We like to support him. We like to help him. I don't want to see him crying, you know? We want to give him love and care. That's why these people are here."
The driver of the bus faces violation and misdemeanor charges, including failure to exercise due care and operating a bus with bad brakes. The family has also launched a civil suit.
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