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« Building small frames | Main | Memories on this Veterans Day »

Driver in fatal crash sues victim's parents

This morning I read this Associated Press article and had what I refer to as a serious WTF moment.

14 year old Matthew Kenney (Left.) was killed on his bicycle when he was struck by David Weaving who was recklessly overtaking another car at 83 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Weaving who has five previous drunk driving convictions is serving 10 years for manslaughter in this case.

Mathew’s parents are suing Weaving for $15,000; a paltry sum, but I imagine it is probably the limit of insurance cover that this driver had.

Now Weaving is counter suing the parents for $15,000 for negligence for allowing their son to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Although this  is a frivolous lawsuit filed from Weaving’s prison cell at no cost to him, and will probably go nowhere, it is designed to cause further pain and suffering to the parents.

Also it delays the Kenney’s case and causes further legal expense on their part; it is designed to try to make them give up and drop the case.

The helmet issue is also preposterous in this case; stuck by a car doing 83 mph, a layer of foam polyurethane on the victim’s head offers little or no protection. In this case the wearing of a helmet probably would have had no bearing on the tragic outcome.

In writing this I am hoping that someone with more legal knowledge than I have, can give some helpful advice to the Kenney family



Reader Comments (12)

How does one get five drunken-driving convictions?

Should be in jail after No. 3.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRider


Of course it is an extreme countersuit and will end up in the garbage. But it is inflammatory and worse. Imagine the reaction of the grieving parents.

I'm sure they are represented, but I'm always ready to help.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeterW

Truly unbelievable, this guy should have been locked up long before he hit Matthew. Weaving is truly an inconsiderate bully that has been allowed too many Get-Out-of-Jail-FREE cards by a culture that unfairly favors auto drivers, no matter what the price is to society and civility.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

This is just horrible. I can't imagine the pain the family has already gone through, to do some BS like countersue after killing their son is disgusting. David Weaving should spend his life in jail and seek counseling for his sociopathic ways.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Prove positive that the apple does NOT fall far from the tree. The lowest tier of HE LL has a notched out space for Mr and Mrs Weaving. Can I sue THEM, claiming punitive damages for the ANGER they cause me; knowing they are twisting the knife in Matthew's parents stomachs?

I am beyond outraged by these imbecilic quasi-beings. Their son NEVER had a chance to grow up normal, as he was subjected to profoundly delusional demented parents. ABSOLUTE SHAME will befall them and karma WILL catch up with them.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatz

It is a large problem having people drive after multiply drunk driving convictions. We have some people in CA on the road after 8-10. We have to get serious about stopping drunk driving. Manditory jail time, los of license for a period, first offence. Escalating upwards after that. Injury and or death caused by the action license gone for ever.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

Another problem is that Weaver is a ward of the state and the state pays his filing fees and some other costs. The parents have to hire a lawyer on their own hook. Perfect.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

Dave, that's unbeleivable. Unfathomable. PLEASE if you are ever in the mood to fight more , go on Ray La Hood's Facebook page and post this stuff also. I assume you know who he is. Beware, you will see more videos on there, you will totally flip out.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

You were right about the helmet thing. Besides cycling helmets work differently from a motorcycle crash helmet.What can it do to protect anyone who was hit by a car at 83 mph? The nerve of this guy! Just pure evil. And I too can't believe he can file such a preposterous case free of charge!

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPedals Cycling

Dave I just saw on another blog that this was in Hartford CT, where I live..

I told you, people are really messed up around here WTF.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

This case has gotten a lot of airplay as though it is something odd and horrific and unusual. Sadly, it's not.

I've handled more than 250 "bike" cases - representing injured cyclists or the families of cyclists killed in crashes. In virtually EVERY bike case, the defense claims the cyclist did something wrong - wasn't riding as far right as practicable, didn't signal a turn, had improper lighting, etc etc etc. Usually these defenses are raised discretely by lawyers in 3-piece suits using big words like "comparative negligence" and "assumption of the risk" and such. In some cases, the motorists file counterclaims against the cyclist for damage caused to the car.

What the prisoner did here is exactly what insurance lawyers do - except instead of a 3-piece suit he was in an orange jumpsuit and instead of fancy words the fellow was very blunt.

Under our system of justice, one who is sued can raise whatever defenses he/she feels are applicable. Further, if you fail to raise them in a timely manner, you lose them. It IS unusual for someone to actually countersue, but it's not unheard of.

Also, I believe the "$15,000" figure you cite does NOT mean they only want $15,000. In Ohio, and many states, the rules of filing lawsuits say you can't just pull a huge figure out of the air you have to ask for "more than $X.00" - in Ohio it's "more than $25,000" and I'm guess that in hte Kenney's jurisdiction the rules say "more than $15,000" because that is how I've seen it presented in many articles. These rules were adopted primarily because doctors got tired of seeing their name in the paper, "Dr. John sued for $5 million" when the case was later dismissed.

Hope that helps understand this thing a bit. This case is a "shipwreck" and not the norm.

Further, I read in another article that the boy's family was also suing the STATE for failing to take this guy's license away.

Steve Magas
The Bike Lawyer

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Magas

Steve, good post, help us out here in CT if you run across updates on this case, could you post your comments on any new developments that occur as a follow up?

I am absolutely stunned that they didn't take his license away. In NY, where I am from, if you get a single DUI you have to have a breathalyzer device installed in your car, and you have to pay for it. Second offense is loss of priviledge/jail, etc.

I would also love to know who determines what "adequate lighting/reflection" is. The lawyer? There is no standard set by the DOT , but they did do countless studies on reflectors , which tend to fail as we all know. (Read Sheldon Brown)

I highly doubt a kid would be stupid enough to jump off a ramp from his yard and land in the middle of the street on a dark foggy night, as the defendent claims, come on now.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

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