A lawsuit has been filed against the state of Washington on behalf of a Bothell family that was involved in a deadly accident on December 21 while traveling on Highway 2 east of Stevens Pass.
The six claims, filed May 14 with the state Attorney General’s office, claim the state Department of Transportation failed to close down Highway 2 after over 100 trees had fallen in the area in the three days leading up to the accident.
The accident instantly killed Tim Owen, 58, and Cheryl Reed Owen, 56, when a tree struck their SUV as they were traveling east of the pass.
Severely injured passengers included the couple’s daughters Jessica (Jessie) Owen, 27, and Jaime Owen-Mayer, 25; along with Jaime’s husband Steven Mayer, 25.Only the Owen’s son, Jeremy Owen, 22, was able to walk away from the crash.
According to a Seattle Times article, the claims filed allege the tree that fell on the Owen’s vehicle snapped in the same way that hundreds of other trees had snapped and fallen in the Mount Baker and Wenatchee areas in the previous few days. Highway 2 over Stevens Pass was not closed due to falling trees, unlike the Mount Baker highway, which was closed for several days.
The state Department of Transportation closed down the highway only after a second vehicle was struck the day after the Owen’s accident. The lawsuit does not list any specific amount of damages in the claims filed on behalf of the Owen family, however the three severely injured family members have already incurred over $1 million in medical bills. They still need much more rehabilitative care and therapy in order to recover from their injuries.