Family Suing City Claiming Wrongful Death

A family is suing the city of Omaha over the death of a daughter. Alicia Rea was killed in October 2010 when her Volkswagen slammed into the back of a city maintenance truck.

Channel 6 News received a copy of the wrongful death complaint. The Rea family says she did not have to die that day.

Construction projects need the proper signage, telling drivers there are crews up ahead and what action they should take. Alicia's family says that the maintenance crew on Maple that day gave no warning. The lawsuit claims there was no shadow car, no orange barrels and no arrow boards.

It also asks to be reimbursed for Alicia's medical and burial expenses and an additional $10 million in damages.

Alicia's Volkswagen wedged under the city maintenance truck, the top of the car cut open so paramedics could rush her to the hospital and the debris was scattered over the roadway.

All of it will be presented to a jury when it hears the wrongful death case.

Brian Jorde, Rea family attorney, says, "It was a vehicle that was literally parked. It wasn't moving at 5 mph, it was stationary in the left-hand lane of Maple, which is a state highway, speed limit 45." Jorde says there was no signage to notify drivers that there was a crew in the road up ahead.

Early on, the city subpoenaed Rea's cell phone records, the thought was she may have been distracted by her phone.

Tom Mumgaard, deputy city attorney, says, "It was a big, huge orange truck with lights on it and somebody ran into the back of it for some reason and we need to find out why."

Jorde offers comments from the story originally posted on wowt.com as proof that big and orange don't necessarily make an object obvious. "A Lisa, one of your viewers, stated that she almost hit it herself. She wasn't able to see it having to swerve out of the way."

What, if any, city fault will be determined in a court of law. The Rea family has asked for a jury trial in the case.

The city attorney’s office tells Channel 6 News it will defend the case and after the investigation into the accident, it is confident that proper procedures were followed.


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