Ohio DOT Ordered to Pay Four Million for Car Crash Death and Injury Is Demeaned by WKBN News


A  family fought for justice to be awarded nearly $4 million in a wrongful-death judgment against the Ohio Department of Transportation on Tuesday. In addition this was for tramatic brain injuries to Connor Reed the son of the deceased.

A tree fell on the car Mrs Reed was driving and her son Connor was a passenger on 12/26/2008. The tree was known for over a year to the Ohio Department of Transportation  to be a hazard. Yet ODOT tried to say this was an act of God. That defense is applicable if a bolt of lightning knocks over a tree . But not when the hazardous nature of the tree was well known for over a year to ODOT.

This judgement was rendered by a Judge in the Court of Claims of Ohio. This is the only place you can sue the State for conduct related to highway safety.

Having brought a wrongful death in the Ohio Court of Claims myself against ODOT and others for negligence, it still shocks me that ODOT would not act to remove the tree despite knowledge of the hazard it posed. This case and the accident claim I was involved with, had clear evidence of knowledge on the part of ODOT of a hazardous condtion for a significant period of time, yet they failed to act to fix the life threatening condition.

What also bothers me is the reporting by one news agency WKBN 27 news and the image they showed with their interent article about th Court of Claims of Ohio Judge made verdict of $4,000,000..  They ran the story with the lead in this picuture being a stack of money next to a gavel. I find this picture extremley demeaning to the death, memory and loss of a loving mother, wife and spouse and to the  severe injury to her child. A family is irretrievably broken. This was a travesty.

The picture focuses on money rather than the loss.  Fortunately it is no longer an eye for an eye. Too bad the lawsuit could not erase the loss. Too bad money is all we have to compensate for a wrongful death and severe injuries. But there is justice represented in the award . And an assigning of fault. This gives homage to the memory of the deceased and lets wrondoers know that they must not carelessly injure and kill others. But the photo demeans all of this.  (See the Photo below)


Court Money


Here’s the link to the story http://www.wkbn.com/2013/05/23/ohio-family-gets-4-million-in-moms-death-by-tree/ You can see the picture leads off the story. Why. Why demean this loss, this injury, this death? I truly do not understand.

It should be noted the attribution of this article is given to Associated Press AP . So I’m assuming they issued the article but  WKBN 27 News picked it up and interjected the image.  There was plenty of other media coverage that did not include this imagery. One such link is below and the imagery chosen was the building where the Ohio Court of Claims is housed.


by Anthony  Castelli Attorney