Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

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
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller