GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – A Grandville man who watched as his grandfather was struck and killed by a mail truck as the two walked to Mass on Christmas Eve, 2013 is suing the U.S. government for negligence and emotional distress.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids comes two years after 77-year-old Louis Van Vo was struck while crossing Porter Street SW to attend services at Our Lady of La Vang Catholic Church.
The victim's grandson, 25-year-old Peter Vo, "has suffered severe mental disturbance and shock resulting in actual physical harm as a result of witnessing the death of his grandfather,'' the lawsuit claims.
It comes eight weeks after the National Tort Center in St. Louis, Mo. rejected his claim seeking $100,000.
"We offer our sympathies to the family for this tragic incident, but we cannot accept legal liability. Accordingly, this claim is denied,'' a federal claims attorney wrote in October.
The accident occurred about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2013 as the postal truck was heading west on Porter Street near Avon Avenue to retrieve mail from a collection box.
A Wyoming police accident investigator determined the mail truck was travelling at least 10 miles below the posted 40 mph speed limit, despite Vo's Federal Tort Claims Act complaint that contends the driver was speeding and driving without his headlights on.
Wyoming police determined that Vo was not in a crosswalk and dressed in dark clothing when he was struck.
The lawsuit claims the driver failed to keep his vehicle in control, didn't keep a proper lookout or use its headlights and failed to yield to pedestrians.