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Randy Walton
Randy Walton
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City of Encinitas, School District Sued for Wrongful Death

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The family of a San Dieguito Academy teenager who died after being hit by a fellow student’s car has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Vista Superior Court. Named in the lawsuit are the City of Encinitas, San Dieguito Academy, San Dieguito Union High School and the State Department of Transportation. The driver of the vehicle and his father were also named.

The lawsuit alleges that the district and the state knew that road conditions in the area were dangerous and therefore must share in the liability.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that road conditions in the area are dangerous and that the agencies are partly liable for the boy’s death because they knew of the problem, or should have known, and did nothing about it.

The accident happened beneath the Interstate 5 bridge that spans Santa Fe Drive, about four blocks west of San Dieguito Academy. Ryan was walking with other students who were returning to school from a lunch break.

No sidewalks exist on the south side of the busy road, where the students were walking. The lawsuit states that pedestrian access is inadequate, and so are signs and warning devices to keep pedestrians safe.

The lawsuit alleges that the school district was negligent and says the open-campus policy at San Dieguito Academy exposes students to the risks of busy roads without adequate supervision.

The victim’s family is represented by prominent San Diego attorney Craig McClellan, who has said his case against the school district would focus on the negligence of it “open campus” policy knowing of the dangerous conditions outside the campus.

There is apparently evidence that the negligent driver, also a teen, was showing off to his passenger at the time of the accident, and deliberately maneuvered his car in a reckless way before losing control of his car. Everybody in the case will obviously be pointed at the driver as the sole case of the accident. I think it will be tough to get around that, but if any lawyer in San Diego can spread the liability around to the other defendants it’s Craig McClennan. This will be an interesting case to follow.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Wrongful Death.