- Ashley Davis hit by a car as she crossed the road in September 2009
- Her parents argued that the school board had broken its promise to safely transport her by making her cross the road for the bus
- Payout among the largest awarded in the county
- Attorneys said it is unlikely they will get $90m as the school will appeal
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 14:23 EST, 17 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:25 EST, 17 April 2013
A family whose 13-year-old daughter was fatally hit by a car as she crossed the road to her school bus four years ago has been awarded $90 million in a wrongful death suit.
Ashley Davis was hit by a car as she crossed Brinkley Road in Prince George’s County, Maryland on September 1, 2009 – as her classmates looked on – and died in hospital two weeks later.
Her parents claimed the school system failed to provide a bus stop on her side of the road, forcing her to cross the street – and failing to fulfill their promise to provide safe transportation to school.
After hitting Ashley, the car, a Lincoln Continental, struck a minivan and a 17-year-old boy, who was hospitalized but survived.
John Costello, a lawyer for the family, told NBC Washington that the Prince George’s County School Board was ‘negligent’ towards Ashley.
‘They had adopted a policy to provide for safe transportation,’ he explained.
‘The policy was they were going to pick up Ashley on her own side of the street. They never did. They forced her to cross the street. She got killed crossing the street.’
Her mother, Nycole Davis, spoke about her enduring grief.
‘She was on her way,’ she said. ‘She was doing the right thing. She was going to school. She was a good girl. She didn’t deserve this. If she didn’t have to cross the street… she’d be graduating this year. She’d be going to prom this year.’
Loss: Ashley, a high school freshman, suffered serious injuries in the crash and died two weeks later
Ashley was forced to walk over the road to her bus after an original bus repeatedly failed to stop at the right place, Costello said.
The school board failed to provide a safe bus stop for students who lived on the north side of the road, according to court documents.
At the end of the civil trial, the jury awarded the family $90 million plus medical expenses and funeral costs – one of the largest the county has ever seen, the Washington Post reported.
‘The jury was upset that [the school board’s] policy was not followed for a full week and a little girl in her first year of high school ended up suffering the consequences,’ Costello said of the verdict.
But lawyers warned the battle was not yet over.
NBC reported that often a verdict is capped around $100,000 when there is a lawsuit against a municipality or school system, and Costello expected the board will appeal the verdict.
Prince George’s County Public Schools said: ‘No judgment has been entered in this case. It is still under litigation.’
But Ashley’s mother said she did not care for the money.
‘I didn’t ask anyone to give me any money or anything like that,’ she said. ‘I just want someone held responsible for what happened to my daughter.’
She added that her daughter was outgoing and popular, and enjoyed shopping, dancing and writing poetry.