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Unexpected fatality occurs on a Madison park lawn

There are some activities or locations that we may consider dangerous. Hang-gliding would be one example. A dark alley late at night is another traditional example. But sunbathing on a lawn in a Madison city park? That should be safe.

According to a recent news report, a woman was sunbathing on the lawn in James Madison Park south of Lake Mendota when she was run over by a city truck. The truck accident left her with serious injuries, to which she succumbed about two weeks later. The fatal accident has left both the city and the woman's family with a host of questions. How could you miss a woman lying in the grass? Could this accident have been prevented? Was there negligence involved?

Apparently the truck driver was delivering bark at the time. Someone else was in the cab with the driver and someone else was riding in the back when the truck came over a berm and ran over the 38-year-old sunbather.

Alcohol or drugs were not reported as being a factor in the accident, although the 23-year-old woman who was driving did have blood drawn as a standard operating procedure. The results have not been made public. The type of truck she was driving does not require a Commercial Driver's License.

The police are conducting an investigation, after which the Parks Division will conduct an internal safety review.

Although criminal charges may not be filed, the surviving family members of the 38-year-old woman may seek to purse wrongful death litigation against the city park, or the driver, or both.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "Police await reports in death of sunbather run over by city truck," Doug Erickson, July 5, 2012

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