Partial resolution has come in the form of a $250,000 settlement to a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of a Polk County teen killed in a 2017 wreck.
The suit — filed in October 2017 by Steven E. and Stephanie A. Nelson of Bolivar against Ford Motor Co. and Darrell L. and LaDonna F. Shirey of Humansville — alleges negligence in the death of the couple’s son, Samuel Nelson, 16.
The teenager died April 19, 2017, after a car crash on Rt. O north of Bolivar.
According to court records, 31st Circuit Associate Judge Mark A. Powell, Greene County, approved the partial settlement agreement between the Nelsons and the Shireys only on March 20. In accordance with the agreement, claims against the Shireys were dismissed with prejudice.
The agreement, obtained by the BH-FP, specifically states the Shireys “deny any fault for the injuries and resulting damages” and “deny any liability.”
According to the petition, Samuel Nelson was driving a 2001 Ford F150 and attempted to avoid the Shireys' dogs in the roadway. He lost control and was ejected when the Ford left the roadway and rolled.
The petition alleged the Shireys were negligent in "failing to properly restrain their dogs” and in “failing to keep their dogs out of the roadway."
Claims against Ford include two counts. The first alleges negligence, arguing the seat belt restraint system in the Ford failed to "adequately and properly restrain” the teenager and “thereby resulted in his death." The second count claims Ford Motor Co. manufactured and sold the vehicle with a defective design, ultimately resulting in the youth’s fatal injuries.
In all three counts, the Nelsons asked for a judgment in excess of $25,000 in damages.
While originally filed in Polk County, 30th Circuit Judge Michael O’Brien Hendrickson recused himself from the case in early January 2018, according to the case docket.
The Missouri Supreme Court assigned 31st Circuit Associate Judge David C. Jones on Jan. 11, 2018. Following a Feb. 9, 2018, motion for change of judge, filed on behalf of the Shireys, Powell was assigned to the case.
The case against Ford remains set for a jury trial March 16-17, 2020, in Polk County Circuit Court.