KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of the patient killed in a crash involving a Johnson County, Missouri Ambulance District ambulance on April 30 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson County, Missouri, the Johnson County Ambulance District, and the driver of the ambulance.
The family of 61-year-old Raymond Miller is represented by attorney Tim Dollar, who filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit comes more than two weeks after the crash on 71 Highway near Bannister Road in Kansas City. Kansas City, Missouri police said the ambulance overturned twice.
The patient was being transported from Warrensburg to Research Medical Center and died at the scene. The ambulance district said Miller needed specialty care for a gastrointestinal issue.
Video obtained by the KSHB 41 I-Team through a public records request shows the ambulance driving north on 71 Highway. It goes past the off ramp for Bannister Road.
Moments later, the ambulance begins to veer to the right onto the shoulder. The 21-year-old driver then loses control and goes into the median when the video stops.
The Johnson County, Missouri, Ambulance District told the I-Team the video stopped recording at the time of the wreck. They said it was due to a technical failure.
The lawsuit claims the ambulance driver “failed to exercise the highest degree of care in the operation of her vehicle” and was negligent.
The lawsuit also alleges Johnson County, Missouri, and its ambulance district were negligent in “entrusting its vehicle to an individual who it knew or should have known had inadequate experience, training, and knowledge to safely operate the vehicle.”
It also claims the county and ambulance district were negligent “in failing to adequately train, instruct and supervise” the driver “concerning the safe operation of the vehicle.”
Miller’s family issued a statement through their attorney on Wednesday.
“The family of Raymond Miller, who was tragically killed while being transported in an ambulance by the Johnson County Ambulance District on April 30, 2023 has filed suit today. The suit filed against Johnson County, MO and the driver of the ambulance alleges that the driver failed to keep a careful lookout and maintain control of the ambulance resulting in the ambulance overturning. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the ambulance district was negligent in entrusting its vehicle to an individual who it knew or should have known had inadequate experience, training, and knowledge to safely operate the vehicle, and in failing to adequately train, instruct and supervise the driver concerning the safe operation of a vehicle.
The family is hopeful that this lawsuit will provide answers about the details of the crash so that changes can be made to prevent this type of accident from happening to other families in the future.”
KCPD is looking at whether wind was a factor in the crash. They did not have an update on the investigation on Wednesday.
KCPD previously told the I-Team fatal crash investigations can take anywhere from several weeks up to a couple of months.
The process includes reconstructing the crash, reviewing video, and talking with anyone involved. They’ll put those components into a case file and send it to the prosecutor for them to review.
The I-Team contacted the county and ambulance district for comment. Johnson County Clerk Diane Thompson responded to say the county was not "currently aware of a lawsuit that has been filed" and that "no official comment has been prepared by the Commission."
The Johnson County Ambulance District EMS Chief sent a statement.
"On April 30th, 2023, a Johnson County Ambulance District (JCAD) unit was involved in a tragic accident on 71 Highway near Bannister Road. Thankfully, both employees are stable and recovering from injuries sustained in the accident. The patient did not survive the accident. Please keep the friends and family of the patient in your hearts as we mourn their loss.
The nature and details of the accident are under ongoing investigation.
As of the time of this press release our agency has not been served or received notification of any lawsuit."