Families of teen-agers killed picking up trash file lawsuit

LAS VEGAS - Survivors of six teen-agers killed while picking up trash in the median of Interstate 15 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The teen-agers were participating in a Clark County juvenile highway work program when a minivan driven by exotic dancer Jessica Williams veered off the road and plowed into them.

The families' suit filed Thursday seeks damages from Williams, the Clark County Family and Youth Services Department, which operated the program, and Republic Services of Southern Nevada, which paid to have children pick up trash that had fallen from company trucks.

The plaintiffs say the children were placed in a dangerous situation without adequate safeguards.

''This was entirely foreseeable. It was a time-bomb waiting to explode,'' said attorney Rob Murdock, who represents two of the six families.

The lawsuit claims that neither Clark County nor Republic took steps necessary to protect the children.

County officials said the children wore orange vests and that a county van with blinking hazard lights carried them to the roadside and parked behind them.

In June, Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement Section cited the county for five violations of training and protective equipment regulations in connection with the accident.

Clark County suspended the highway work program immediately after the Marhc 19 accident. In June, authorities decided to end the program, saying it posed unacceptable risks.

County officials had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment. Republic Services officials were not available for comment.

Williams is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on $5 million bail. Her criminal case is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Prosecutors say she was impaired by various drugs found in her system after the accident near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Defense attorney John Watkins contends she was not impaired, only tired and she fell asleep.


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