A Stafford County woman who attended a funeral held at Covenant Funeral Home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit alleging that injuries she sustained in a car accident were caused by the funeral home’s failure to hire local law enforcement personnel to control traffic as the funeral procession exited the funeral home’s parking lot. Jean Eustice claims that, rather than hire law enforcement to assist mourners at a very busy Route 1 intersection, the funeral home placed a young funeral home assistant with no experience or training in traffic control to control traffic in the middle of Route 1. The assistant held only a small, hand-held sign that directed traffic to either “slow” or “stop” and was dressed only in a dark suit and a raincoat.
The lawsuit, which seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, was filed September 12, 2016, in the Circuit Court for the City of Fredericksburg. The accident took place on December 27, 2014, when a car being driven by Wyvetta Faye Deats, of Frederickburg, who is also a defendant in the case, struck Eustice’s car, broad-side, in the intersection of Route 1 and Lassen Lane. Eustice had to be extracted from her car using the “jaws of life” and suffered multiple fractures and other injuries.
Benjamin W. Glass, III, Eustice’s attorney, said:
This is a very dangerous intersection, particularly on a Saturday afternoon, and the funeral home should have had trained and experienced local law enforcement personnel to direct traffic. The local sheriff’s office does an excellent job of keeping funeral processions safe both for mourners and the general public. Putting an untrained young man who has never controlled traffic before in his life out there in the middle of Route 1 traffic, armed with nothing more than a small and confusing sign, recklessly endangered many lives.
“I hope this lawsuit brings awareness of the dangers of funeral processions to the funeral home industry. Safety should not be shortcut.”