The City of Omaha was recently sued in two wrongful death lawsuits over the deaths of two women back in 2018.
The City of Omaha recently came under fire in two wrongful death lawsuits over the deaths of two women back in 2018. According to the suits, the families of the women want the city to pay for their deaths, but the city has since denied responsibility and is calling for the cases to be dismissed.
The two suits revolve around two women who were killed within three weeks of each other back in October 2018. The first incident occurred on October 8, 2018, and involved Patty Leahy. According to the suit filed by her family, Leahy was “heading west on Grover Street when her car was T-boned by an unlicensed driver traveling north on 42nd Street.” The driver who hit her was Tahjelle Jeffries. At the time of the accident, Jeffries happened to be driving without a license and ran a red light right before hitting Leahy. As a result, he was charged with motor vehicle homicide and sentenced to 18 months in jail.
According to Joe Howard, the attorney representing Leahy’s family, they want the intersection to be safer. He added that their lawsuit “questions whether Jeffries had difficulty seeing the stoplight because of a pedestrian overpass that sits just south of the intersection.” A hearing regarding the suit is scheduled for this month. Howard said, “They just want to see some change come out of this…It is a really sad deal. She had a bright future ahead of her.”
The second incident happened on October 21, 2018, and involves Marjorie Thurber. That day, she was walking with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter to the “Big Brain Tattoo in the Old Market when “Thurber fell on the sidewalk near 11th and Jackson Streets…Thurber, 76, struck her head in the fall and died five days later from the head injury.” According to her family’s lawsuit, “a portion of the sidewalk had buckled and had not been repaired.” Additionally, the suit alleges the “city and the building’s owner, Witherspoon Management Co., were negligent in allowing cracked, heaving and uneven pavement in an area traveled by pedestrians and in failing to warn of the unreasonably dangerous condition of the sidewalk.”
Mary Elliston, the Assistant City Attorney, pushed back against the allegations and said the “city ordinance states that the owner of the abutting property — not the city — is liable for all damages and injuries if they fail to keep the sidewalk adjacent to their property in repair.”