The family of a 17-year-old Bentonville girl who died in a car crash two years ago reached a settlement in her death case Friday, according to the family’s attorney.
The civil trial against Lindsey and Associates, Chrysler, Honeywell and the driver of the vehicle was scheduled to begin Monday in Benton County Circuit Court. The trial would have been a painful experience for the family, and the girls’ parents are satisfied with the settlement, said Sean Keith, the family’s attorney in the case.
“They are very grateful it is over,” he told 5NEWS.
The settlement leaves Sara Symons’ family an undisclosed amount of money. Settlements have now been made with all three defendants in the case.
The progression of the case has dispelled several rumors associated with Sara Symons’ death, mainly finding that Symons was not at fault for her own death, Keith said. Keith said some initially thought Symons may have not been wearing her seatbelt.
Keith said the seatbelt malfunctioned during the 2011 wreck, leading to Symons’ death.
“She did nothing wrong that day,” he said.
The Symons family filed suit against Kendall Riggins, a Lindsey and Associates agent who was the driver of the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro involved in the September 1, 2011 accident. Also named were Lindsey and Associates, Chrysler and Honeywell, the seat belt manufacturer.
Keith said in a case such as this, suing several big companies is not uncommon.
Sara was killed after a collision with Riggins, who was driving a Camaro painted NASCAR style with advertisements for Lindsey and Associates. The collision caused both vehicles to cross the median into oncoming traffic with Sara’s vehicle rolling several times.
Keith says a forensic investigation indicated Sara’s seatbelt failed, ejecting the teen from her Jeep Grand Cherokee. According to the police report, she was not wearing a seatbelt.
“A nationally known seatbelt expert looked at this and has found that one, Sara was using her seatbelt on that day,” said Keith. “During the rolls in this collision, it [the seatbelt] unlatched allowing her to be thrown out of the vehicle.”
Riggins was not injured in the crash but according to the police report, he was cited for prohibited driving.