Lawsuits seek $40M over 'dangerous' bus stop

Girl killed, teen lost leg in separate crashes at bus stop

Lisa Balick and KOIN 6 News Staff - BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN) --- Battle Ground School District and Clark County Public Works are facing lawsuits over a local bus stop where an 11-year-old girl was killed and a teen lost his leg in 2 separate crashes.

Two tort claims seeking $20 million each were filed on behalf of the victims, 20-year-old Justin Carey and Elizabeth Smith, who was 11 when she was hit and killed at the bus stop on NE 82nd Avenue and NE 289th Street.

The stop isn't marked and there is no shoulder on the road, which has a speed limit of 50 mph. There is also a limited sight line because of a hill on NE 82nd Avenue that sits just ahead of the bus stop.

In June 2013, Casey was waiting for a school bus along the rural road when Shaun Johnson slammed her car into him. He had to have one of his legs amputated.

Johnson was convicted of vehicular assault and possession of methamphetamine in connection with the crash. But those convictions were later tossed when the Washington Court of Appeals ruled some evidence in the case was obtained illegally.

In October 2016, another tragedy happened at the bus stop. Smith was waiting for a school bus to pick her up when a van slammed into her, resulting in her death.

The new tort claims allege the bus stop "was placed in an unreasonably dangerous location and passing motorists were not properly warned or advised of the bus stop."

"The speed limit, limited line of sight, lack of proper signage and other conditions on the roadway created an unreasonably dangerous condition," documents state.

People who live along NE 82nd Avenue tell KOIN 6 News it's a scary spot, and that although the speed limit is 50 mph, many drivers go faster.

"Quite frankly, it's super dangerous," Stephanie Browning said. "I saw a boy the other day get off the bus holding a little flag as he crossed the road to give notice to traffic. It's a sad situation."

The law firms involved are working to find other people who may have had close calls or who have been hurt at the intersection where the bus stop sits.

School district and county officials did not provide comments on the case.


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