The children of an Overland Park man killed by a teenager allegedly driving while drunk have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the teen and his parents.
Kevin P. Moroney, 52, was standing next to a parked car outside his home in the 8400 block of Tomahawk Road on Aug. 7 when a car driven by 17-year-old Conner Estrella struck him. A woman with Moroney suffered injuries.
Johnson County prosecutors charged Estrella with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery. The charges allege that his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. The criminal case is pending.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Johnson County District Court to raise awareness about the “prevalence and dangers” of teenage drinking, according to a written statement released by the Moroney family.
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“Too often recently, teenage drinking has resulted in injuries and deaths to teens and innocent bystanders in our community,” the statement said. “And too often, some parents have turned a blind eye to what is becoming a dangerous epidemic.”
The lawsuit alleges that Benjamin and Suzanne Estrella were negligent in providing a car to their son, who was on probation and had a “past substance abuse history.”
Robert Luder, an attorney representing the Estrellas in a lawsuit previously filed by the injured woman, said Tuesday he had not yet seen the new lawsuit and could not comment.
Conner Estrella had a court-imposed curfew of 9:30 p.m. as part of his probation in a previous battery case. The court also had forbidden him from drinking alcohol or attending parties where alcohol and drugs were present.
The lawsuit alleges that on the night of the crash, his parents were aware of or should have known of the probation restrictions before they “furnished” the car to their son so he could “hang out with friends.”
While out, Conner Estrella “consumed alcohol and possibly other intoxicating substances” at a party before driving home and hitting Moroney more than two hours past his curfew, the lawsuit alleges.
In its statement, the Moroney family said it hopes the case “will shed light on how a teenager on court-ordered curfew obtained alcohol and was allowed to get behind the wheel before causing a wreck that killed a beloved father and injured another bystander.”
“More importantly, they hope this case will prevent other families from having to endure similar tragedies,” the statement said.