News - McHenry County

Traffic case continues against Crystal Lake bus driver in crash that killed 3-year-old Cary boy

Neighborhood where 3-year-old Samuel Huddleston was killed on May 16, 2022, after being hit by a school bus.

An attorney representing the bus driver cited for traffic violations after hitting and killing a 3-year-old Cary boy last year said Thursday he still is reviewing a 24-page police report in the case.

Ryan Nolte, of Tressler LLP in Chicago, appeared on a video monitor in a McHenry County courtroom representing Koleen Janquart, 61, of Crystal Lake.

Following the collision that killed Samuel Huddleston on the afternoon of May 16, Janquart was issued traffic tickets for failure to reduce speed and failure to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or a person on a bike.

Janquart’s appearance was waived, and she was not present in court Thursday.

Nolte said he has not yet had time to review the case with prosecutors.

Janquart, along with Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, Community High School District 155, and the Transportation Joint Agreement, also is facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the Huddleston family.

Judge Jennifer Johnson set Feb. 16 as the next court date to address the traffic citations. She said she is “looking toward moving the case forward” with either a plea or setting a trial date.

Samuel, one of five children, was hit by the school bus while playing in the street near Cherry and Hill streets while his mom stood just 5 feet away, said Glen Dunn, the attorney representing the family in the wrongful death lawsuit.

After hitting Samuel, which caused him to land on the roadway, the bus hit the toddler a second time, rolling over his body, “causing him great pain, harm, suffering, injury and ultimately … death,” according to the lawsuit.

Dunn said the neighborhood is small and home to about 40 children with no sidewalks for children to play on. He said it is common for children to play in the streets there and buses have been warned to slow down when traveling on the neighborhood streets.

Samuel’s death has “left an enormous crater in that family, and they are still feeling the effects. ... They are still feeling the pain and it gets worse,” Dunn said Thursday.

Dunn said video from the school bus on the afternoon of the crash has “mysteriously” gone missing even though there is video from the morning.

Tressler LLP, attorneys for the school districts, bus company and Janquart, requested in late December that the judge dismiss the lawsuit, arguing in part that it contains allegations not just of conduct that occurred after the crash but of people not named in the lawsuit.

The allegations are “inflammatory and are irrelevant,” according to the motion to dismiss.

A hearing is set for the civil lawsuit in the McHenry County courthouse on Feb. 9.

Nolte declined to comment when reached by phone after court Thursday.