The city attorney’s office in Kansas City is seeking City Council approval to settle a lawsuit over a fatal skateboard accident for $475,000.
The lawsuit alleges that Kansas City failed to rectify dangerous road conditions where the accident occurred March 22, 2014, on westbound Northeast Winn Road near North Bellefontaine Avenue in Clay County.
Two boys were riding a skateboard at that location when a minivan struck them. One boy, 8-year-old Jorden Hale, was killed and 6-year-old Jesus Gonzalez was severely injured.
Their mothers sued the driver, the city of Kansas City and the Walnut Grove apartment complex, where the boys had been playing.
According to the lawsuit, the Walnut Grove parking lot had a steep slope contiguous with Winn Road. The two boys were riding tandem on a skateboard in the parking lot, accumulated speed and were unable to stop when they entered the westbound lane of Winn Road.
The lawsuit alleges that Northeast Winn Road was a busy street with significant traffic and pedestrians but had no sidewalks, shoulders, crosswalks or other features to keep pedestrians safe. Also, the speed limit was 35 mph, and there was little or no signage warning drivers of the frequent presence of children in the area.
The lawsuit said Kansas City was negligent in failing to properly design, inspect or maintain the roadway and structures near Walnut Grove; failed to post proper signage; and failed to recognize and rectify a dangerous condition that had been the subject of prior complaints and incidents.
City Attorney Bill Geary and a plaintiff’s attorney, James Adler, declined to comment on the proposed settlement, which is slated to go to the council’s Finance and Governance Committee on July 6 and may go to the full council on July 7.
Sean Demory, spokesman for the Kansas City Public Works Department, said Friday that funding for a sidewalk project in that area was made available in spring 2014. The sidewalk design is underway. The project is slated to go to bid this fall and construction could occur next spring.
It was unclear from court records whether any of the other defendants have settled.