The families of a woman and three children who drowned when a van rolled into a Bridgeport, Conn., pond in 2007 have settled a lawsuit against the dealership that sold the van.
The van was parked at Beardsley Park on July 4, 2007, when it began rolling down a hill. Michelle McIntosh, 39, ran after the van but couldn’t stop it and drowned, as did the children inside the van. An investigation determined one of the children had shifted the transmission into drive.
All sides agreed to keep terms of the settlement with the Loman Auto Group of Woodbridge, N.J., confidential, an attorney for McIntosh’s family, William Bloss, told the Connecticut Post.
“What happened was a terrible tragedy but the families agreed that the settlement was in their best interest and now hope to turn that page in their lives,” Bloss said.
Bloss said in 1999 most car companies had installed a safety device to prevent the transmission from being shifted into drive without the brake being depressed. But he said McIntosh’s 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager was sold without that device.
The children who died were McIntosh’s son David Jr., 2; her nephew, Jayden Wilson, 6; and 2-year-old Julia Boyd, the daughter of a family friend.
The Post said that Peter Dreyer, who represented Boyd’s family, declined to comment, and the lawyer for the auto dealership did not return calls for comment.
In a court filing, the plaintiffs had offered to settle the case for $15.5 million. Bloss said they would have pursued a lawsuit against the car company, but Plymouth had gone bankrupt, so they sued the dealership that sold the van.
After the drowning deaths, the city installed a rail barrier along the road above the pond where the accident happened.