The family of a woman who died after an impaired driver crashed into the bus shelter where she was sitting, plans to sue the City of Bremerton, Kitsap Transit, and the driver for $10 million.
They blame the city and transit agency for not following state and federal safety guidelines, which recommend that benches and waiting areas be placed away from driveways to enhance rider safety.
31-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Parnell, a mother of two, died after a driver, who admitted to using methamphetamine and marijuana, careened into a bus stop near Auto Center Boulevard and Werner Road in West Bremerton in September 2016.
“She did not know it was a death trap,” said Phil Arnold, the lawyer representing the Parnell family, during a press conference in Seattle on Thursday.
The shelter where the accident happened was situated next to a driveway. Though there is a curb in front of the bus stop, Arnold argues that the curb should have extended several feet on either side of the shelter, which could’ve prevented the car from leaving the roadway.
Photos displayed at the press conference show a new bus shelter at the location moved further away from the driveway. A large boulder blocks the structure from oncoming traffic.
The Parnell family plans to seek $10 million in damages.
“All she’s doing at this moment is looking down, hoping the best for her kids, and hoping this tragedy doesn’t happen to any other family,” said Charles Parnell, Margaret’s brother.
The Parnell’s legal team filed damage claims with the City of Bremerton and Kitsap Transit on Wednesday. By law, they must wait 60 days before filing their lawsuit.
Kitsap Transit spokesman Sanjay Bhatt responded on Thursday.
“Maggie Parnell’s death at the hands of an impaired driver was a tragic loss for her family and our community. We received a notice of claim for damages late yesterday. Kitsap Transit does not comment on pending litigation,” Bhatt wrote in a statement.
The City of Bremerton said it is gathering information about the allegations and does not comment on pending claims.
23-year-old Calob Logan Courtney, the driver who crashed into the bus stop, pleaded guilty to a count of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault and was sentenced to nine years in prison.