Judge OKs wrongful-death lawsuit's continuation

A federal judge has ruled that the family of Allyssa Squirrell, an 11-year-old Huntington Beach girl killed two years ago in a Junior Lifeguards training accident, can proceed with its lawsuit against the city, according to media reports.

Rick and Pam Squirrell filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city in March 2010, seeking more than $25,000 to cover damages, hospital and funeral expenses. The city requested a liability cap in May, seeking to limit its liability to $26,100, or the cost of the boat in the accident.

The news was first reported in the Orange County Register.

The city attorney's office and the Squirrells' attorney did not return messages from the Independent seeking comment.

Allyssa was struck and killed by a rescue boat during a training exercise July 14, 2009. She was dropped from the boat into the water as part of an exercise known as a "speed drop," where Junior Lifeguards jump off a moving rescue boat to practice rescuing swimmers.

While Alyssa was in the water, the boat turned around and ran over her.

The lawsuit named Greg Crow, the marine safety officer who was driving the boat, as well as city employees Michael Anthony Eich and Katelyn Fleming. The district attorney's office ruled Allyssa's death an accident in November 2009, but the lawsuit accused the operators of carelessly manning the boat.

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