The mother of a 5-year-old boy who was killed March 24 after he stepped off an Oregon school bus and was struck by a car has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle, the school district, and the bus driver.
Sandra M. TenEyck, whose son, Dameatrius McCreary, was struck when the driver of the car, Angelique Dipman, reached for a ringing cell phone, is seeking more than $150,000 in damages from the three defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
Dameatrius, a kindergarten student at Coy Elementary School, got off a school bus - with its warning lights flashing and stop sign extended - and was crossing Starr Avenue near Berlin Avenue to go home when he was struck and killed by Dipman's westbound Pontiac Grand Am.
Dipman, 28, of Clay Township in Ottawa County, was found guilty by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury of aggravated vehicular homicide. She was sentenced in October by Judge Jack Zouhary to 18 months in a regional jail.
The complaint claims the school district was negligent in providing for the safety of Dameatrius because it allowed for a bus route that required him to cross a lane of traffic on Starr.
It also alleges that the district failed to use safety equipment that could have prevented the accident.
The lawsuit said the bus driver, Shawna Watson, could see oncoming traffic moving while she opened the doors of the bus, allowing Dameatrius to get off, violating state administrative code safety procedures.
Ms. Watson could not be reached for comment.
During her trial, Dipman testified that she took her eyes off the road briefly to find her cell phone after it fell from her lap. She told the jury that she didn't see the bus and believed that she had rear-ended another car when she struck the boy.
Dipman, who is scheduled to be released from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker, in 2007, could not be reached for comment.
Dipman, the mother of two young children, also was ordered to participate in a safety video, and her driver's license was suspended for 15 years.
Oregon Schools Superintendent John Hall said the accident was a "tragic situation," and he would have to read and review the lawsuit before he would have additional comment.
The lawsuit was assigned to Judge Zouhary.