By James Felton
Genesee County, Michigan (WNEM) — Attorney Thom Waun is representing Tina Birnie in a civil lawsuit against the driver that killed her husband, Flint Police Captain Collin Birnie. The driver, who was 16 at the time of the incident, lost control of his vehicle on Elms Road and crossed the center line, crashing into Birnie’s vehicle in February.
“It’s devastating for Mrs. Birnie. It’s devastating for the rest of the family. It’s something they’ll never get over. They’ve lost a loved one. They’ve lost somebody who provided for their family. And that’s the reason you pursue a claim like this,” Waun said.
Waun claims that the driver drove in a careless and reckless manner in total disregard of the rights and safety of others. As we reported in August, the teen pled guilty in court to one count of reckless driving causing death.
“This was a 16 year old young man who caused this accident. He was going 107 miles an hour when he lost control of his vehicle,” Waun said.
The driver’s father is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit that seeks an amount that far exceeds twenty five thousand dollars.
“Whether it’s a father and son, whether it’s a brother allowing his brother to use a car, whether it’s employers allowing an employee to use their car. When the owner of a vehicle gives their consent to use that vehicle, they become responsible,” Waun said.
The lawsuit calls for reasonable compensation for the conscious pain and suffering undergone by Collin Birnie from the time of the crash until his death. Loss of financial support and services of Collin Birnie. And the loss of companionship of Collin Birnie. Waun is quick to point out a victory in court would do little to ease the pain Birnie’s family is feeling right now.
“The Birnie family would trade any amount of money to have Collin back, to have Mr. Birnie back. That’s not what’s most important to them,” Waun said.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton had petitioned for the teen to be charged as an adult in the criminal case. But a judge denied the request. The teen faces a maximum punishment of detention until his 21st birthday. Had he been tried as an adult, the penalty could have been up to 15 years in prison.
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