The family of Kyle Plush has reached a $6 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The 16-year-old student died on April 10, 2018, when he was trapped by a folding seat in the back of a minivan parked in a lot across from his school. Plush was headed to local tennis courts but never arrived. Instead, he was pinned by a folding seat in the back of his parked minivan.
Plush managed to use the voice activation on his phone to call 911. However, operators and police were unable to locate his van. The teenager was found six hours later by his father. He was unresponsive in the van and pronounced dead a short time later.
What are the Details?
The settlement was announced on the third anniversary of Plush’s death. The city of Cincinnati and the Plush family “have agreed to resolve a lawsuit filed by the family seeking damages and meaningful improvement of the City Emergency Communication Center.”
“Kyle was a very positive person, and he would have wanted to make change”, said Jill Plush, Kyle’s mother.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of good things happening, and we’re going to be with them along the way for the next five years,” said Ron Plush, Kyle’s father.
The settlement read that the city “has taken substantial remedial action to address the problems that contributed to first responders failing to locate and rescue Kyle Plush, but acknowledges the need for continuous improvement with public transparency and accountability.”
The settlement establishes a team of 911 experts from around the country who will work with the director of the ECC to further enhance the city’s 911 system.
In the lawsuit, the Plush family argues that the city acted recklessly and didn’t make the boy’s 911 calls a high priority.
“Most important is that she (the operator) didn’t even contact the officers on the scene who were there when Kyle was still alive,” Plush family attorney Al Gerhardstein said last year. City officials argued that Plush was a victim of a horrible circumstance and not recklessness.
The Plush family sued the city of Cincinnati, former city manager Harry Black, two 911 call takers and both Cincinnati police officers who responded and failed to find the teen’s van.
On Friday, Cincinnati City Manager Paula Boggs Muething said the employees of the ECC and the police department are working to ensure the city “never again experiences a tragedy like the one suffered by the Plush family. The City is dedicated to providing the most professional emergency response to all Cincinnatians.”
The Plush family’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, had this to say following the settlement: “The family enters this agreement in honor of their son Kyle. To honor his memory, it was important that we secure a civic commitment to continuous improvement. With this agreement the City Manager commits to continue reforms in an enforceable, transparent way that will make the City safer for everyone. The family sees improvement under the current leadership and this court-supervised agreement will build on that.”
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