PELLA, Iowa -- "My world was turned upside down that day," said Kristine Kohrs, the Plaintiff in a new lawsuit against Walmart for a fatal crash that happened in Pella last December. Three people lost their lives when a driver crashed into the retail store. Now the mother of one of the victims is suing Walmart.
A man allegedly began choking on coffee as he was driving his pickup truck toward the super-center, and lost consciousness as he drove through the entrance of the store.
"my youngest daughter came home. I was babysitting for my grandkids, and she came home and told me that Lindsey was one of the first ones that he had hit," said Kohrs. 29 year-old Lindsey Rietveld worked at the store; her mother still can't believe she's gone. "I can`t believe it. I still wake up thinking I can give her a call, or a text message," said Kohrs.
Kohrs is suing Walmart claiming it failed to protect its employees, patrons, and other visitors. "I want justice for Lindsey. I want the parking lots changed; not just at the Walmart in Pella, but everywhere."
The lawsuit claims Walmart was negligent when it failed to erect adequate security devices or bollards. "And these were what`s called decorative bollards, which means they weren`t really designed to stop anything," said attorney Jeff Lipman of the Lipman Law Firm in West Des Moines. "They were breakable. They were made of material that was not protective in nature," said Lipman.
The suit states "to protect people and property, standard practices for such retail entrances is to erect security bollards at intervals no more than 5 feet apart, such that any vehicle driving toward the entrance will impact more than one bollard and thus increase the crash resistance of the installation."
When contacted for comment, Walmart sent the following statement:
“We continue offering our prayers to the victims’ families. The safety of our customers and associates is among our top priorities, and we have consultants and engineers who designed this parking lot in accordance with local laws and regulations. While we have not yet been served with this lawsuit, we take this matter seriously and will respond appropriately with the court.”