CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The parents of Makayla Marie Strahle, an 11-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a vehicle passing her school bus in 2011, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school district and are seeking $30 million in damages, COUNTY 10 reports.
The federal civil lawsuit, filed by Daniel and Melissa Sperry, names Fremont County School District 6 (Wind River), Superintendent Diana Clapp, school bus driver Fred Peterson, transportation supervisor Kevin Schieffer, and the board of trustees as defendants, according to the news outlet. A trial is set to begin on March 9.
William Dean Barnes, the man driving the truck that struck Makayla while she was crossing a highway after deboarding her bus, is not a defendant in the lawsuit, COUNTY 10 reports. A jury had found Barnes guilty of homicide by vehicle, maximum speed too fast for conditions and passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights. He was sentenced to 300 days in prison and was ordered to pay more than $13,000 in restitution.
The civil suit alleges that the district's negligent actions inflicted emotional distress and trauma on the family, specifically Makayla's mother, according to the news outlet. For the wrongful death, the family is claiming damages of $10 million, and $5 million for personal injuries to the family, or the maximum allowable insurance limits. The family is also seeking $15 million in damages for many of its members who suffered from the loss of Makayla.
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In 2014, the tragic incident spurred Gov. Matt Mead to sign a bill into law that will require stop-arm cameras on all state school buses as of the 2016-17 school year.
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