A driver serving prison time for hitting and killing a 14-year-old with his car has filed a lawsuit against the victim’s parents, accusing them of negligence for allowing their son to ride his bicycle without a helmet contrary to state law.
David Weaving’s legal action counters a suit filed by the parents of Matthew Kenney for $15,000 for negligent driving. He is suing them for the same amount, according to the Associated Press, claiming that they caused him “great mental and emotional pain and suffering” and inhibited his “capacity to carry on his life’s activities”.
Joanne Kenney told AP that Weaving’s counter-lawsuit was “unbelievable” and that “it drags the pain on. It’s a constant reminder”.
“Enough is enough,” she said. “Can you just leave us alone and serve your time?”
There is no federal law that requires helmet use in the US. However, Connecticut has adopted a mandatory bicycle helmet law, Senate Bill No. 597 and Public Act No. 97-46, that applies to children aged 15 and under.
The bill states: “Failure to comply with this section shall not be a violation or an offense. Failure to wear protective headgear as required by this subsection shall not be considered to be contributory negligence on the part of the parent or the child nor shall such failure be admissible in any civil action.”
Weaving has chosen to represent himself during the counter-lawsuit. He is considered indigent and therefore will not have to pay any fees. The Kenneys, however, will have to pay for their defense in court.
On 27 April 2007, Weaving was trying to overtake the traffic ahead of him while driving recklessly at speeds upwards of 84mph (133 km/h) in a 45mph (72 km/h) zone on Route 69 in Prospect, Connecticut when he struck and killed Kenney who was riding his bike, according to police and prosecutors.
The boy suffered severe head trauma along with other internal injuries and broken bones. Doctors pronounced him brain dead the next day. He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.
Weaving was convicted of manslaughter in December 2008 and has spent the past two years serving a 10-year sentence in prison. Previously, he was arrested on five separate occasions for drunk driving. He wasn’t charged with drunk driving in this case.
According to the Associated Press, Weaving said that if the Kenneys had “complied with the responsibilities of a parent and guardian, and the laws of this state, and not allowed their son to ride his bicycle without a helmet and to play out in the middle of Route 69… Matthew’s death wouldn’t have happened.”