Shiloh school, contractor added as defendants in suit

Ann Knef Aug. 9, 2007, 10:00am

A St. Louis attorney representing the family of a Shiloh Elementary School second-grader, killed early this year in the school's cafeteria by an errant, elderly driver, now claims the school is negligent for failing to maintain a crash-worthy wall.

On Thursday, Jack B. Spooner of Wittner, Spewak, Maylack & Spooner in St. Louis, filed an amended complaint on behalf of Amanda and Kevin Wesling by adding the school district and school board as defendants in a St. Clair County civil lawsuit.

In March the couple filed a wrongful death and personal injury suit against 84-year-old Grace V. Keim for causing the death of their 8-year-old son Ryan Wesling.

Ryan Wesling was killed Jan. 27 during school lunch hour when Keim's off-course vehicle burst through the cafeteria wall.

The school "owed a duty to its students to construct, improve, oversee/supervise/design/manage/plan construction, adopt a plan/design of construction, maintain and/or inspect and/or barricade the Wall and/or to insure the Wall was crash worthy," the complaint states.

"(The) District failed to barricade the Wall so as to prevent automobiles traveling at or upon East Julie Street from striking the Wall," the complaint states.

Spooner's amended complaint also adds as a plaintiff the mother of Alexander C. Daniels, another child who was injured at the scene. Becky C. Molloy is seeking damages for her son's injuries.

A contractor responsible for constructing the wall during a 1999 building renovation, Mel Malone -- doing business as Malone Building Solutions -- was also named as defendant. The wall is three feet from East Julie Street, which bears a 20-mile-an-hour speed limit, the complaint states.

The Weslings and Molloy claim the school exhibited "utter indifference or a reckless disregard for the safety of its students."

The Weslings claim they have sustained substantial pecuniary loss including, but not limited to, money, goods, support and services that her decedent son might reasonably have expected to contribute to Weslings.

"In addition, there is a loss of companionship, society, affection, comfort, care, guidance and such additional losses in the form of funeral expenses...," the complaint states.

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