Girl Killed in School’s Parking Lot, Family Seeking $2.5 Million

When Lovington High School let out at the end of a school day, the parking lot was a “free-for-all,” students told KRWE News 13 in New Mexico.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of 17-year-old Peggy Saenz who was killed after she fell from a moving vehicle in the school’s parking lot. The lawsuit claims the district failed to supervise and control the high school parking lot. In particular, the suit claims Lovington School Superintendent Darin Manes and High School Principal Chris Brattain knew the lot was unsafe and did nothing about it.

Further, the suit contends the District ignored complaints from students and citizens to improve the dangerous conditions.

Police say Saenz and her friends were in a jeep after school on August 27th when the teen put her feet on the metal running board of the car and placed only half of her body inside the vehicle. The jeep moved forward, made a U-turn, suddenly accelerated and made another U-turn. That is when detectives believe Saenz was thrown from the jeep and severely hit her head on the pavement. She was airlifted to a hospital about an hour away and died the next day.

Following the accident, Brattain told school board members that he and other administrators tried to direct traffic in the congested parking lot at the beginning of the year. “I was told we were doing that at our own risk because if we were hit by a student that liability would fall on us and not the school,” Brattain said.

After the incident, the superintendent told News 13 he was planning on adding more STOP signs, speed bumps, parking curbs and increasing security in and around the parking lot.

The lawsuit states that the District had no policies or procedures in place to adequately train their personnel on parking lot safety.

The family is seeking $2.5 million in damages.

Police say the District attorney decided not to file any criminal charges against the driver of the jeep. She was also a 17-year-old student at Lovington High.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our experienced Gacovino Lake attorneys at 800-246-HURT (4878) for more information.

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