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Lawsuit filed over fatal collision with TRAX train

Posted - May 26, 2010 at 5:07 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The father of a teen injured in a fatal crash between a car and a TRAX train has filed a lawsuit against the family of the car's driver. But the injured teen's attorney says the family is only trying to get insurance companies to pay for medical bills.

The March 11 accident in South Salt Lake killed two people -- Donald Callison, 18, and Alex Amundson, 21, who was driving. Passengers Kristine Velasquez, 17, and Jeremy Wright were critically injured.

Kristine Velasquez
Kristine Velasquez

Tuesday Kristine's father, Paul Velasquez, filed suit against Bryan Amundson, Alex's father. The suit says Amundson loaned his car to Alex knowing Alex had a bad driving record.

The Velasquez's attorney, Edward T. Wells, says as Kristine's medical expenses pile up, the only way to pay for them is to sue Bryan Amundson.

"Kristine is going to need some lifetime help, and we want to make sure she has sufficient to meet her needs," Wells says.

Wells says Kristine struggles with simple tasks, and complex reasoning. She receives workman's compensation, but it won't fully cover her needs.

"We're still trying to figure out the totality of the damage, but at this point it appears to be catastrophic," says Wells.

Wells says the family is not seeking money directly from the driver's family. Instead, he says the family wants to recover money from All State Insurance, which represents Bryan and Alex Amundson, and the insurance company that covers the KFC franchise.

"We're not mad at the Amundsons," Wells says. "We're concerned that the insurance company did not step up."

Alex Amundson and the others in the car were employed by KFC at the time of the crash.


"I'm not blaming the father. The family is not blaming the father ... (We're) trying to get the insurance companies to step up and pay the money." Edward Wells

According to Wells, the insurance companies have refused to settle the case and pay the claims for Kristine's medical expenses. He says the only way to get the money now is to file a personal lawsuit directly against the franchise and Alex's father.

"I'm not blaming the father. The family is not blaming the father. We're not blaming Alex other than to say he made a tragic mistake," Wells says. "What we're trying to do with this lawsuit is trying to get the insurance companies to step up and pay the money."

Last month, the families of all four victims met each other at KSL Broadcast House, expressing thoughts of forgiveness and compassion toward those involved the crash.

Bryan Amundson now says those feelings haven't changed and says he knows the lawsuit against him isn't personal.

"I think Paul is, he's between a rock and a hard place," he says. "He got some medical bills that need to be paid, and he's trying to get them paid. And he's just probably going to his attorney so that his attorney can work out any way to recover the money for the medical bills."

"I don't think he is out to try to get rich or anything," he continues. "I think he just wants to be able to pay off those medical expenses that he certainly wasn't planning on."

Amundson wants to help the family with some kind of fundraiser.

"I'd like to help them in any way I can because I feel for him and Kristine," he says.

Police have said Alex drove around the crossing arms and onto the tracks, where the car was hit by an oncoming train.

Wells says he doesn't intend to recover a dime from the Amundson family. He says that is not the intent of the lawsuit, even though he's using Alex's history of traffic violations as evidence in the suit. He says that's just another way to prove that the insurance company is responsible for paying the claims.

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Story compiled with information from Jed Boal , Shara Park and Andrew Adams.

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