Kansas Plans to Appeal Jury Award Linked to Deadly 2007 Crash

October 18, 2016

The state of Kansas plans to appeal a jury’s ruling that ordered it to pay $120,000 to the family of a 2007 car crash victim who died after a state trooper demanded she be sent to Missouri hospitals rather than a closer one in Kansas.

The Kansas Court of Appeals earlier this month upheld the 2014 jury award related to Kristin Saragusa’s death, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The Kansas Attorney General’s Office will ask the Kansas Supreme Court to review the case, spokeswoman Jennifer Rapp Montgomery said.

Authorities said Charles Barker was fleeing a trooper after an attempted traffic stop when his car crossed into oncoming lanes and collided with a car occupied by Saragusa.

An ambulance carrying Saragusa initially was sent to a Kansas hospital four minutes away. But it was rerouted at another trooper’s behest, eventually to two Missouri hospitals, keeping her in an ambulance for 16 minutes. Saragusa died three minutes before arriving at the second Missouri trauma center, the newspaper reported.

Saragusa’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. During the trial, jurors awarded $1.2 million to the woman’s children and estate. and assessed the state’s blame at 10 percent, putting its liability at $120,000.

Jurors cleared the trooper who gave chase to Barker of wrongdoing.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, which oversees the paramedics who treated Saragusa, agreed to a settlement that is to pay Saragusa’s children $325,000 over 30 years.

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