Thursday, August 24, 2000

Mother sues in crash

Lawsuit claims negligence in death of girl, 16

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The mother of Anna Destefano, one of two teens killed in a June 9 auto crash, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the driver, her parents and Hamilton County commissioners.

        Mary Patricia McQuaide is seeking an undetermined amount in compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000 each, the lawsuit said.

Negligence alleged
               She alleges in the lawsuit that the driver, a 16-year-old girl, was negligent in operating the vehicle that caused the accident.

        She said the driver's parents negligently entrusted the car to her and that county commissioners failed to repair a hump in the road that caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

        The driver was sent last week to live in a treatment program for girls who make errors in judgment. She also must appear in a locally produced video about the dangers of teen driving and will have to work at charities chosen by the families of the two girls who died in the crash.

        The accident occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle as she sped down Hillside Avenue in Delhi Township trying to do a hill hop.

        Hill hopping is defined as driving a vehicle over a hump in the road at a high speed, causing it to go airborne.

        The lawsuit names two unidentified people who showed the girl how to hill hop.

Two teens killed
               According to police reports, the driver had agreed to drive 11 teens to a pool party in Delhi Township on the last day of school. They were all students at Delhi Middle School.

        As the driver sped over the hump in a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, she lost control of the vehicle. It crossed the double yellow line, struck a utility pole and rolled over.

        Anna Destefano and Kelli Ridenour, both 13 and from Delhi Township, were killed. Nine other teens were injured.

        Darleen M. Luhn, the girl's mother, said Wednesday she did not want to comment on the lawsuit.

Neyer has no comment
               Hamilton County Commissioner Tom Neyer said he would not comment on the lawsuit because it is pending.

        Commissioners John Dowlin and Bob Bedinghaus could not be reached.


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