BREMERTON, Wash. — The family of the Bremerton mom killed by a vehicle while waiting at a bus stop said they intend to sue the city of Bremerton and Kitsap Transit.
Maggie Parnell’s family says it will be a wrongful death suit. The filed a claim with the parties on Wednesday. The city of Bremerton and Kitsap Transit have 60 days to respond.
Nearly a year since the crash, a cross sits near the bus shelter, where Parnell was killed. A driver admitted to being high on drugs and marijuana when he crashed into the bus shelter, where Parnell was sitting.
Since the incident, the Bremerton and Kitsap Transit have made some safety improvements. For one, there is a large boulder protecting the bus shelter and they also moved the structure down farther away from a busy driveway, giving it more curb protection. But people affected by the tragedy say it’s a little too late.
“I was sitting here, the glass breaking into a thousand pieces, the next thing I was laying on the ground,” survivor David Baird said.
Baird was critically injured in the crash. He’s still recovering from a back and leg injury.
Seconds after the crash, frantic witnesses called 911.
“Oh my God, they hit some people at the bus stop!” said one caller.
“The lady's got massive injuries to the right leg,” said another caller.
Parnell died from the trauma.
Family members released a video Thursday of the mother of two playing with her children. That’s how they want to remember Parnell.
Parnell’s father says her children are still asking for their mother.
“Their mom was their whole life and she was a good mom,” Charlie Parnell said.
Parnell’s family blames the impaired driver and also now the city of Bremerton and Kitsap Transit for placing the bus shelter in what they call an unsafe location.
“There should be more rules and regulations that pedestrian safety is as important as someone driving a vehicle,” brother Charles Parnell said.
The family intends to sue, saying the bus shelter should have never been put between two busy driveways.
“She did not know it was a death trap,” attorney Phil Arnold said.
Arnold says there are federal and state guidelines recommending adequate curb length and warnings about bus shelters close to driveways.
Arnold says Parnell’s death could have been prevented with at least a 6-inch curb. He showed pictures of the bus shelter before the crash, saying there is a curb right in front of the shelter but not enough leading up to it. But Arnold admits the safety standards are not mandates.
“If the question is, why should the government pay attention if it’s not requirements? Then, they are not acting on the best interest of their citizens,” Arnold said.
The family wants bus stop safety improvements across Puget Sound -- and, with it, $10 million for Parnell’s two children.
“To the kids, should mean everything, OK, because it’s all about the kids,” father Parnell said.
In response, Kitsap Transit released this statement:
“Maggie Parnell’s death at hands of an impaired driver was a tragic loss for her family and our community. We received notice of claim for damage late yesterday. Kitsap Transit does not comment on pending litigation.”
The city of Bremerton also could not comment on the case as of Thursday.