Elderly woman knocked to ground by soccer players, sues park and school

By Steve Gonzalez | Jul 7, 2005

Seventy-seven-year-old Opal Boyett claims Granite City park and high school officials should have known that elderly people like to use the Wilson Park walk path early in the morning to avoid the summer heat.

After being knocked to the street by practicing members of the Granite City High School soccer team member while she was walking in the park, Boyett filed suit July 5 against the school and park district for reckless disregard of her safety.

Boyett claims that on July 2, the soccer team was instructed to run on the park's pathway, even though it is used by people of all ages and physical abilities for exercise and rehabilitation.

Boyett claims she was struck by one or more of the 20-member soccer team and suffered disabling injuries.

According to the complaint, GCHS was guilty of the following willful and wanton acts:

  • Failing to provide team supervision after instructing them to use an off-school facility knowing elderly people would be using the path early in the morning to avoid extreme heat;

  • Intentionally organizing a boy’s soccer team practice and directing that all or part of the practice would occur off school property;

  • Intentionally conducting an organized team sport practice in the exact area and times known to be used by the elderly; and

  • Intentionally conducting practice when defendants should have known of prior injuries on the pathway due to overcrowding by people using canes, strollers, roller skates, skate boards and bicycles.

    Boyett claims she suffered permanent injuries to her left elbow, head, heart and body as a whole, and will be hindered and prevented from attending to her usual duties and affairs of life.

    She also claims she suffered great physical and mental pain and suffering and has become liable for large sums of money for medical care and services.

    According to Boyett, Wilson Park management failed to provide an adequate pathway that would safely allow a soccer team to pass a group of elderly people walking and failed to provide rules or regulations to prohibit a soccer team from using the path in the morning hours when elderly people are using it to avoid heat.

    Boyett, represented by David Hylla of Edwardsville, is seeking at least $100,000 in damages for the injuries she sustained.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Philip Kardis in Granite City.

    05 L 618

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