The Ohio Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether Bluffton University’s insurers are liable for a 2007 crash in Atlanta that killed seven people, including five college baseball players.

A chartered bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team plunged from the Northside Drive overpass and landed on I-75 before sunrise on March 2, 2007. The driver of the bus, who along with his wife was killed in the wreck, mistakenly thought an HOV exit ramp was a lane.

The bus belonged to Executive Coach Luxury Travel, an Ohio company, and the team was headed to a tournament in Florida at the time.

The court must now decide if an insurance policy taken out by the university covers the bus, according to Stephen T. LaBriola, an attorney who represents the parents of one of the deceased players.

Attorneys for the university’s insurance carrier and two of the accident victims clashed over whether the university had “hired” the bus, which would make its insurers liable. A trial court and the 3rd District Court of Appeals previously dismissed the lawsuit against the university’s insurer, saying there had been no “hire” of the bus.

By Alexis Stevens

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

6:42 a.m. Thursday, September 16, 2010