California Family Who Lost 4 Sues Over Military Jet Crash

By JULIE WATSON | December 13, 2011

A family that lost four members when a military jet crashed into their San Diego home in 2008 is suing the U.S. government for compensation for an accident that the Marine Corps has acknowledged was caused by a mechanical failure and a string of errors.

A federal judge on Monday will preside over the two-day nonjury trial to determine whether the government should pay the family and how much for the deaths of two children, their mother and their grandmother.

The Marine Corps has said the plane suffered a mechanical failure but that a series of bad decisions led the pilot – a student – to bypass a potentially safe landing at a coastal Navy base after his engine failed on Dec. 8, 2008. The pilot ejected himself and told investigators he screamed in horror as he watched the jet plow into the San Diego neighborhood, incinerating two homes.

Don Yoon lost his 36-year-old wife, 15-month-old daughter; 2-month-old daughter; and his mother-in-law. He and his father-in-law are plaintiffs in the case.

“The United States has admitted responsibility for the crash,” said lawyer Kevin Boyle, who is representing the plaintiffs. “Now what they’re fighting is the amount of money they need to pay.”

Boyle said he will point out the “metaphysical loss of losing a daughter, a wife, a mother.” He has filed court documents pointing out other cases in which families have received millions of dollars from the government for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones.

Boyle declined to say how much money the family is seeking, saying it will come out during the trial.

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