As anticipated, the last teenager involved in the fatal Monroe prom night crash has joined the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kaylie Jackson’s parents.
Mitchell Foster, Jr. has been added as a plaintiff in the case that was filed about a month after Jackson was killed on her way to prom. Jackson and her boyfriend, Tanner Allford, were in the backseat of the 2013 Tesla driven by Chynna Brandon, and Foster was in the front seat.
Brandon lost control of the vehicle April 27 on hilly Millikin Road in Liberty Twp., dropped into a ditch and hit a telephone pole. Jackson was ejected and died three days later, the other teens were also injured. Brandon was speeding at around 112 mph, witnesses said.
Brandon pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in juvenile court in December.
Allford’s attorney, Charlie Rittgers, said Allford has already received $100,000 from Brandon’s mother’s insurance policy, and the issue going forward is how to divide Brandon’s father’s $500,000 insurance policy. The other two plaintiffs were also offered $100,000 each from the mother’s policy.
“I think it’s important for the public to know this is all insurance,” Rittgers said. “The family themselves, this little girl and her family who was the at fault driver, they’re not going to have to pay a penny of this, which is typical. The insurance companies have offered the $500,000 but they don’t know who gets what of the $500,000.”
His client suffered a host of serious physical injuries and is “suffering from PTSD, nightmares of the crash and psychological trauma associated with the death of his girlfriend,” according to his complaint filed Monday. He said they will not pursue anything beyond insurance.
After the crash, Foster Jr. — who suffered facial fractures, a broken jaw and a broken nose — told the Journal-News he “blacked out” for about two hours and remembers nothing about the crash scene or being extricated from the vehicle.
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“In addition to the physical injuries and medical expenses, and the direct and proximate result of the negligence and carelessness of the defendant, Foster suffers psychological trauma associated with being in a traumatic crash and loss of his best friend of years Kaylie Jackson,” attorney Jason Phillabaum wrote.
Both teens were forced to join the lawsuit if they wanted to recover any insurance money for their injuries, according to Phillabaum. He told the Journal-News that normally a victim of a car crash has two years to file a claim, but the defendants asked the judge to join all the plaintiffs.
Phillbaum said people don’t often think about how expensive medical care is, he had a client who just broke her leg and it cost $20,000. The emotional toll also carries a cost.
“Then you have the mental damages of having a friend die, being involved in a crash, not pursuing certain things because of the post traumatic stress you’re dealing with,” he said. “So there is a lot of damage people just don’t understand unless they’re going through it.”