theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Z_CNHI News Service

October 28, 2013

Families of teen, baby crushed by tree awarded $3.7 million

SOMERSET, Ky. — A jury awarded $3.7 million to the families of a 17-year-old girl and her unborn baby who were killed when they were crushed by a tree at a public housing complex in central Kentucky.

Jurors found that the Housing Authority of Somerset failed to properly maintain the grounds at the Colonial Village, where a large maple tree fell in 2009. Griffin, who was pregnant at the time with a son she named Nicholas Ayden Steele, was unloading a car with her cousin, Joshua Thacker, when the tree struck them. Griffin and her baby were killed, and Thacker was injured.

The damages awarded Thursday included $1.26 million to Griffin's estate and $500,000 for Griffin's parents for loss of companionship of their daughter. The award also includes $1.25 million for the estate of Nicholas Steele and $500,000 to Steele’s father, Jason Steele. Another $220,000 went to compensate Thacker.

"On behalf of the Housing Authority, we of course are disappointed with the verdict, and we’ll be considering in the next few days the options that are available to us moving forward," said the organization's legal counsel, Hamp Moore.

The tree involved in the deaths fell during gusty winds, though the plaintiffs pointed out that no other trees in the area fell that day. The tree had a "co-dominant" trunk, with two similarly-sized stems growing out of the same main trunk, which causes a tree to be more likely to fail, according to written testimony from arborist Ian Hoffman.

Nick Vaughn, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the tree was "dangerous" because of the co-dominant trunk and that it was "just a matter of time before it fell. It wasn’t a question of 'if' but just a question of 'when.'"

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Stocks
Poll

Are you pleased that Oklahoma has repealed Common Core standards for public school students?

Yes
No
     View Results