CULLMAN COUNTY, AL (WAVE) – A little more than a month has passed since a Louisville 8-year-old was killed by a suspected drunk driver in Alabama.
Her parents, who survived the crash, are now taking action against the man police say caused it, by filing a civil lawsuit against him.
On Dec. 17, Rick, Julie, and Hayley Ryan, of Louisville, were on their way to visit Julie's mom for Christmas. They were stopped at an intersection on Highway U.S. 31 in Alabama, only five minutes away.
"Our investigation indicates that Mr. Burns was intoxicated at the time and the Ryans were legally stopped in traffic," said Trey Traylor, the Ryans' attorney.
The Tully elementary student was killed.
"Mr. Ryan suffered significant injuries for which he's still undergoing medical treatment and Julie Ryan was also injured and was hospitalized," said Traylor.
Police say 45-year-old Kenneth Burns was arrested and is now charged with manslaughter, vehicular homicide, four counts of assault, and DUI. Traylor says burns has been charged with at least two other DUIs in the past.
"Someone who has had prior DUIs should obviously know better, but it seems almost epidemic that people who have a drinking problem will continue to drink and drive regardless of the consequences," said Traylor.
Traylor filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the Ryan family in Cullman County, in hopes of helping the family with out- of- pocket medical expenses, but more importantly standing up for what they believe is right.
"Hopefully this will send a message to Mr. Burns and other drunk drivers that this type of conduct should not be tolerated," said Traylor.
When Traylor went to serve the lawsuit to Burns in the Cullman County Jail, he was not there. Burns was released from jail on bond, on Jan. 11, less than a month after the accident.
Burns is due in court next month to face manslaughter and DUI charges.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:05 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:05:26 GMT
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