The parents of a student killed in a car crash outside Warwick High School last October are suing the driver of the car that struck her, as well as the insurer of the car she was riding in.
Robert C. Keeney Jr. and his wife Wendi are the parents of Meghan Keeney, who was in a stationary car with classmates Rylan S. Beebe and Jack R. Nicholson when a speeding car driven by Debra Slaymaker-Walker slammed into it.
Meghan Keeney, 17, and Nicholson, 16, died; both were passengers. Behind the wheel was Beebe, 17, who suffered serious injuries.
Slaymaker-Walker, 63, of Mount Joy, is awaiting trial on charges of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and other offenses.
Police estimate Slaymaker-Walker’s 2016 Kia Sportage SUV was traveling 73 to 77 mph before striking several cars, then hitting Beebe’s 2013 Chevrolet Sonic 4D, a small economy car.
Robert Keeney, Wendi Keeney and Robert Keeney as the administrator of Meghan Keeney’s estate filed their suit March 12 in Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.
"We are not putting a specific value on the claims or seeking a specific amount; we are only stating that the claims meet the threshold for a jury trial," said Anthony Georgelis, the Keeneys' attorney, in an email Friday.
In the 21-page lawsuit, the Keeneys emphasize that the fatal accident was caused by Slaymaker-Walker’s “carelessness,” “negligence” and “recklessness.”
The students, in contrast, “were acting in a reasonable, prudent, safe, careful and lawful manner,” according to the parents.
As a result of the accident, the Keeneys say they’ve incurred “significant” expenses while losing any future financial contribution to family expenses from their daughter, as well as her companionship and support. Their late daughter, they add, endured pain and suffering. But Slaymaker-Walker’s car insurance policy is inadequate to fairly compensate them, they say.
Her insurance policy’s bodily injury liability coverage is just $100,000, according to the Keeneys, but their combined losses and damages “are substantially more," the lawsuit filed by Georgelis says.
Since Slaymaker-Walker’s car is “underinsured,” in the Keeneys’ view, they broadened their suit to include the insurer of the Beebe car, State Farm.
The State Farm policy taken out by Rylan Beebe’s mother Danica covers passengers in the car, the Keeneys say. And since Slaymaker-Walker’s car is “underinsured,” the Keeneys say they can tap the State Farm policy’s “underinsured motorist” provision.
To pursue that claim against State Farm, the Keeneys say they “are compelled” by the State Farm policy’s language to name State Farm, Danica Beebe and Rylan Beebe as defendants to the lawsuit.
“The Beebes are victims of this accident, just as the Keeneys and Nicholsons are, and, of course, we would not have included them as defendants if we were not compelled to do so by the State Farm policy,” said Georgelis.