Kasey Gunnarson is accused of hitting a child with his SUV Halloween night near the intersection of North Ninth and North I streets in Tacoma. Tacoma
Kasey Gunnarson is accused of hitting a child with his SUV Halloween night near the intersection of North Ninth and North I streets in Tacoma. Tacoma

Crime

Family of Tacoma trick-or-treater hit by SUV sues driver

November 26, 2016 04:00 PM

UPDATED November 28, 2016 10:52 AM

The family of a 7-year-old boy hit and seriously injured by a car while trick-or-treating in Tacoma has sued the driver.

John and Marie Wilson filed the lawsuit on behalf of their son, who is identified in court records by the initials M.J.W.

The boy was in critical condition at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries after the Oct. 31 accident. The family’s attorney, Jack Connelly, said he believes the boy has returned home.

Pierce County prosecutors allege 38-year-old Kasey Gunnarson was impaired when his car hit the boy. Gunnarson awaits trial on a charge of vehicular assault.

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The Wilsons make those same allegations in their lawsuit, which contends Gunnarson: “drove recklessly and negligently while impaired by alcohol and drugs, failed to keep a proper look-out, failed to proceed with caution in light of the children trick-or-treating in the area” and was going about 45 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Court records and police gave this account:

Dressed in a ghost costume, the boy was holding hands with his father, who looked both ways before the pair started to cross North I Street near North Ninth Street.

The boy’s mother and his twin brother (the boys had just turned 7) were steps behind.

Gunnarson’s SUV hit the father and son as they were halfway across the street. Gunnarson drove off, witnesses said, and bystanders stopped him about a block away.

The lawsuit describes the boy’s injuries as “multiple skull fractures, intracranial trauma and hemorrhaging, fractures throughout his body, including to his pelvis and jaw, and multiple fractures in his ribs.”

Gunnarson told officers he was on his way home from work when the child ran in front of his SUV, according to charging papers.

Attorney Peter Reich, who represents Gunnarson in the criminal case, did not respond to a News Tribune message. Court records do not list an attorney for Gunnarson in the civil matter.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell